Farmers Put 138 000ha Under Maize

Farmers have so far planted 138 000 hectares of maize under Pfumvudza programme with the early crop at tasselling stage, as the 2020/21 summer cropping season progresses.

This is against a target of 216 000 hectares. However, more farmers are still planting as the rains came late.

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 is applied to maize, traditional grains, and soyabeans will commercialise smallholder agriculture.

Planting is at peak and the crop is in good condition although in some areas, signs of leaching have started showing.

Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (Agritex) deputy director, Mrs Kundai Makuku, yesterday confirmed that as at December 25, farmers had put 138 200 hectares of land under maize and that most farmers were still planting.

She said some planted as early as October although some farmers had challenges with the germination due to the dry conditions during that period.

“Generally, the crop is good although some areas are showing signs of leaching due to incessant rains. Maize stages are from germination to tasselling. The crop planted in October is at an advanced stage.

“There have been some cases of fall armyworm but farmers have managed to control the pest. Farmers are now alert and always scouting their crop (for pests).

“They also have chemicals in stock while others are using traditional remedies to control the pest,” she said.

Mrs Makuku said there was urgent need for top dressing fertilisers because of the rains.

“Farmers continue to plant although some operations have been delayed by continuous rains. Planting is underway,” she said.

She said some farmers had done land preparations, but planting was delayed as they had to weed before planting.

Government has adopted the Agriculture Recovery Plan to boost food production and reduce dependency on imports.

Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement came up with several interventions, focusing on sustainably raising production and productivity of these grain crops to meet and surpass the national requirements for both human and industrial needs.

Interventions include adopting conservation agriculture (Pfumvudza/Intwasa) to climate proof agriculture, timely provision of inputs and announcement of pre-planting producer prices.

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