Introducing the Pfumvudza/ Intwasa program in Umzingwane district, numerous Agritex extension officers vehemently carried out training’s throughout the district. Fanuel Ndana and Angeline Mangoya are part of the group of Agritex extension officers who are carrying out the program in Ward 20. Their assignment is to train villagers from 5 different villages.
Speaking to Fanuel Ndana, this publication learnt that the prescribed instructions to achieve a better harvest included partitioning of land into five demarcations according to land sizes. As prescribed three portions of the demarcated land is set for the maize crop and two portions of the remaining land is set for soya beans or sunflower crops depending with the geographical area.
Fanuel Ndana explained the reason behind Pfumvudza/ Intwasa saying , ‘this type of farming intends to address household food security issues as well as the commercialisation of smallholder farming in Zimbabwe’.
The Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme is growing in popularity across Matabeleland South. Small scale farmers in Umzingwane district are slowly warming up to the concept. Communal farmers have accepted pfumudza/Intwasa as a measure to address perennial problems of low productivity, and low profitability experienced in farming in the region.This problem had been negatively affecting their food security and livelihoods over the past years and generations.
Fanuel Ndana further reiterated that inputs where being dispersed in packages of seeds, agricultural lime, basal fertilizer (1x50kg bag), top dressing (1x50kg bag) and pesticides ( fall armyworm control) .
“With this standard input package each household is to produce one tonne of maize and 0.2 tonnes of oil seeds (sunflower or soya bean)”, Fanuel Ndana said.
“Our target population in ward 20 is 300 households however we will be impressed if a number of villagers engaged in Pfumvudza/intwasa exceeds our target population” said Ndana.
He pointed out that extension workers are expected to train, track and monitor the farmers until harvest time and also that the officers are to work with the farmers hand in hand throughout the farming season.
This publication learnt that the key preparatory activities for Pfumvudza/Intwasa, are holing out and mulch collection, this is done between the months of July to August. However because of local politics and uncertainties some farmers had not yet prepared their land and Mr Ndana spoke urging the villagers to urgently prepare their fields.
“We urge farmers who have not done so to expeditiously prepare their land before end of October in readiness to plant with the first rains”, “The distribution of inputs has started and the anticipation is that this should be completed before end of October”,said Ndana.