Story by Tafara Chikumira
Communal farmers who adopted the Pfumvunza/ Intwasa programme in Chirumanzu in the Midlands Province are anticipating a bumper harvest.
When 63-year-old Mrs Snizia Njowa lost her husband back in 2013, she thought her life was heading for the worst as she dreaded the new setup of living as a widow. With no cattle at the homestead, the mother of three was introduced to conservative farming by the local Agritex officer in 2014, a concept that would change her life for good.
Mrs Njowa testified, “It has not been an easy road. However, I must say this method of farming is becoming a game changer in my life. When the government intensified the scheme by offering free inputs, changes are now happening in my life.”
“I managed to buy goats and now they are numbering up to ten. I have also managed to put a fence on my house to protect my homestead. All this I am doing on my own. I am also in the process of upgrading my homestead thanks to Pfumvudza,” she went on.
With most farmers under the scheme anticipating an average of 15 tonnes per hectare from their crop, the Pfumvudza/Intwasa scheme has become the new gospel in Nyikavanhu Village of Chirumhanzu.
“It’s a concept that we have embraced down here. As you can see, my maize crop is looking very healthy and I am proud of what I have achieved. The concept of mulching is ensuring that I get the necessary moisture and sometimes I don’t need top dressing fertiliser as the soil is already fertile. This concept is the best farming method ever,” said a farmer, Mr Bartholomew Chibura.
The same sentiments were echoed by Mr Jeremiah Ndzombe a farmer in the area as well saying, “I am who I am today because of this Pfumvudza. This region does not usually receive a lot of rainfall and as such this mulching process is saving us a big deal.”
“We can now do a lot through farming as it is proving to be a big business. Our lives will never be the same again and I want to thank the government for supporting this scheme,” he added.
Mr Maphios Banda an Agritex Officer for Nyikavanhu Village gave a breakdown of the uptake of the conservation farming method since 2019.
“It is like a wave that is sweeping across the village. In 2019, we only had 680 farmers in this community practising the method of farming. This jumped to 1220 in 2021. The year 2022 saw the number now reaching 1780,” he said.
“We foresee a jump in numbers this coming season as we have managed to surpass our set targets. The concept is a game changer in ensuring food security at the household level,” added Mr Banda.
The climate-proof Pfumvudza/ Intwasa farming concept has witnessed most communal farmers dumping the planting of huge swathes of land with limited resources which in turn resulted in small returns as the scheme guarantees huge returns on small pieces of land.