The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Fisheries Minister Dr Anxious Jongwe Masuka has said Government is working towards mechanising Pfumvudza/Intwasa Program following the huge success of the concept during the 2020/21 season, which saw the country attaining food self-sufficiency.Speaking to TechnoMag in an exclusive interview from Ngungunyana Building No.1 Liberation Legacy Way offices he said following his mandate from His Excellency President ED Mnangagwa, as Minister responsible they have since launched Pfumvudza/Intwasa training rollout for 2021/2022 season.
Minister Masuka said Government was looking at mechanising and modernising agriculture adding mechanising smallholder farmers was instrumental in the realisation of Vision 2030 and economically empowering farmers.
”..we believe that we should not be talking of food security.Food security is a given..all crops are budgeted to increase and we have started to give more attention to the livestock and fisheries so we expect more growth also in those sectors.”
“Pfumvudza is a bit manual. For us to have a sustained and increased adoption, we need to mechanise. We have launched the Pfumvudza/Intwasa training of trainer programme where trainers will be equipped with knowledge and they go on to teach other extension officers and farmers on the Pfumvudza concept,” said the Minister.
”we have initiated multi-stakeholder consultations and for the first time we have consulted extensively with the private sectors i have had more than 8 meetings with the various sectors..we are looking at enablers being irrigation development..we have engaged what we now call the irrigation development alliance being ..a consortium of 11 private companies to say how do we accelerate irrigation development to the desired 350 000 hactres by 2024 up from the current 216 000 hactres.”
He added training the trainer programme was also targeted at increasing adoption and efficiency of the concept to ensure food security and increase income for smallholder farmers.
To this effect Dr Masuka said ”we have also engaged mechanization and equipment suppliers the local ones and formed mechanisation accelerated development alliance so that we can also mechanise as quickly as possible not just at the large holder level but also at the small holder level.”
”we are looking at mechanizing pfumvudza itself so that we can accelerate that and in that context we are looking at an increase in the number of plots for pfumvudza from the 3 to 5 plots per households and we are increasing the number of households supported from 1, 8 million households to 2, 3 million households in the 2021-2022 agricultural season.”
He also urged extension officers to cascade the information to the village level.
“We want you to cascade the information downwards to the village level and we want to exceed the target,” he said.
Minister Masuka continued that ”But we also have now based on the successes that we have had with pfumvudza on maize and traditional grains we are going to have a pfumvudza cotton programme.And we anticipate that perhaps the head of state will be able to launch that.AND ITS SOMETHING THAT IS EXCITING WE HAVE ALREADY GIVEN COTTON SEED PER HACTER AND WE HAVE CHANGED TO PER QUARTER OF A HACTRE.”
”we are also launching the presidential poultry scheme..we are doing a traditional goats scheme.WE HAVE A PRESIDENTIAL RURAL SCHEME..WE WILL BE ABLE TO LAUNCH 20000..”