Matabeleland farmers have intensified preparations for the forthcoming 2020/2021 farming season, with hopes of a better harvest.
The past two seasons, which have not been good for the country, saw the government spending a lot of money importing grain to feed hungry citizens.
Farmers who spoke to CITE this week said they were busy preparing for the onset of the rainy season in October, adding conservation farming was the way to go.
Under the conservation farming concept, also known as Pfumvudza, communal farmers will benefit under the Presidential Inputs Scheme as the government tries to boost agriculture productivity.
Pfumvudza is a concept that is aimed at climate proofing agriculture by adopting conservation farming techniques and involves the utilisation of small pieces of land and applying the correct agronomic practices for higher returns.
The concept, which will be applied to maize, traditional grains, and soya beans will also commercialise smallholder agriculture.
“We are busy with preparations for the cropping season,” said Earnest Ndlovu, a member of the Matabeleland Agricultural Business Chamber.
“We are running with the government’s Pfumvudza programme. We are digging up holes.”
He however said with the programme still new to them, they do not know how they would perform.
“We do not know how we are going to perform in it since it is something new to us,” he said. “We are however hopeful that we will succeed in it.”
Another farmer, Jonathan Nsingo of Insiza, Matabeleland South, said farmers were hoping rains would fall soon.
“We have started tilling the land with hopes that rains will come soon,” he told CITE.
Owing to Covid-19 restrictions, farmers bemoaned the inability to meet as often as they would want as they prepare for the season ahead.
“There are times when we meet for the Pfumvudza trainings but there are restrictions to numbers,” lamented Ndlovu.
“We adhere to social distancing while we wear masks. In most cases we advise one another as farmers through social media. Farming however needs demonstration, many things have to be practical. That is where the challenge is.”
Nsingo said on the other hand said: “We are not even meeting. It is each man for himself.”