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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Shurugwi farmer masters best agronomic practices

Story by Tafara Chikumira

A Shurugwi farmer has become the envy of many after establishing a successful farming venture which has seen her bagging top accolades in best agronomic practices every season.

With her farm located in the heart of the Great Dyke, it is not surprising that many around her are trying their luck in gold panning.

Mrs Ruth Gara has however carved her own niche in farming where she has won top honours in best agronomic practices.

The fact that she is married to a prominent miner and businessman, Mr Nicholas Gara has not given Mrs Gara a comfort zone as she is determined to chart her own course.

She has managed to diversify into various crops at her 15-hectare plot with impressive yields expected to add to the country’s food basket.

“One critical aspect of getting the best out of farming is the planning stage. We have vast businesses which also need attention so we need to look at what we can bring out from the fields,” said Mrs Ruth Gara.

“We also do our soil testing to ensure that we put the right variety on any piece of land. We also get a lot of help from our extension officers who help us to get the best out of what we do.”

Mrs Gara’s success story is expected to inspire other farmers as the government’s focus shifts to climate-smart agriculture.

“We have seen here what we can say are best farming practices. The host farmer has maize, sunflowers, rapoko groundnuts and so on. The trick is that you can’t rely on one crop,” noted Professor Obert Jiri from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.

“If maize fails due to lack of rains, the farmer will have a fall-back plan on rapoko. These other crops can also help in bringing cash which can help in case of drought. This is the way to go about farming in this era of climate change,” he added.

The country is projecting a record three million tonnes of maize from the summer cropping season after farmers benefited from various intervention measures introduced by the government.

The anticipated bumper harvest will produce a surplus as Zimbabwe requires 2.2 million tonnes of maize annually.

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