Government intensifies climate-smart agriculture as El-Nino looms


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Writes Elvis Dumba
Zvimba – The government has put in place mechanisms to counter the effect of the predicted El-Nino weather phenomenon that is expected to affect the 2023-24 agriculture season.
The government has intensified the climate-smart agriculture program,  Pfumvudza/Intwasa by deploying senior government officials to the country’s districts.
This was revealed by Professor Obert Jiri,  Chief Director of Agriculture Advisory and Rural Development Services during the launch and tour of Pfumvudza plots in Nyaude village in Zvimba.
“The government has deployed at least 60 directors to all districts in the country so that we promote household food security in the country as we are anticipating below-to-average rainfall and the program will assist farmers to effectively apply conservation farming to help secure good yields,” he said.
Professor Jiri said the government has already started the distribution of inputs under the Presidential inputs scheme to various distribution points.
“We have already started distributing inputs that will be distributed to each person who would have prepared plots of Pfumvudza so that we are ready for the summer agriculture season in time,” he said.
He warned that those who abuse the inputs from the program will be dealt with and said the ministry has put in place a reward for whistleblowers who will provide information on people who will abuse inputs under the program.
Welcoming delegates at the event, Mashonaland West Provincial Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Hon Marian Chombo, said whilst the program is noble, in some areas, the preparedness is going on slowly and urged that beneficiaries to get their inputs as a complete package.
“It is however sad to note that this year, potholing has not been done at the desired speed yet with the given seasonal forecast where we are expecting normal to below normal rainfall, it is important to embrace Pfumvudza and other moisture conservation techniques and my hope is that when farmers see those who have prepared their plots benefitting, they will also speed up the preparation of their plots.
“Over the years, farmers have bemoaned the fact that inputs are never adequate and they come in bits and pieces. We have always made a plea to supplying these inputs as a package so that farmers do not move backward and forward and it is my hope that this will be the case,”  she said.
Honorable Chombo bemoaned the destruction of forests in the province through veldt fires.
” As a Province, we have continued over the years to witness more and more outbreaks of veldt fires and this year has been no exception. This is quite worrying considering that we so much need this grass for mulch and livestock feed. I am urging us all to desist from starting fires and also to strengthen our firefighting teams so that in the case of an outbreak, we are able to suppress the fire.
“Lastly, may I urge all the officers who will be carrying out the distribution of the inputs to do it with all their hearts, with impartiality, and ensuring that everyone who deserves to benefit does benefit,” she said.
The event was also attended by Zvimba South Constituency Legislator, Dexter Malinganiso, Zvimba West legislator and Deputy Minister, Mercy Dinha, and senior government officials.