Nyemudzai Kakore recently in Rushinga
Farmers are guaranteed a ready market for small grains and should redouble efforts in producing drought-resistant crops.
This was said by Agritex principal director Mr Joseph Gondo during a field day in Rushinga on Friday last week, organised by the World Food Programme.
“Climate-related disasters have been driving food insecurity in the drought-prone areas of the country and farmers need to change their attitude towards small grains to enhance their coping mechanism,” he said.
“Under Zim-Asset Food and Nutrition cluster, these are the crops that are being targeted for the coming season after the success of maize under the Command Agriculture programme.
“Command Agriculture is also coming on board to assist farmers with inputs such as fertilisers and seeds for small grains, hence it is upon every farmer to be involved.”
For the 2016-2017 season, Zimbabwe is expecting 2,7 million tonnes of cereals, of which around 2,1 million tonnes are expected to come from maize, while over 500 000 tonnes will come from small grains such as pearl millet, finger millet, rapoko and sorghum.
Mr Gondo said for the upcoming season, Mashonaland Central had been given a target to produce 80 000 tonnes of small grains, which required partners such as WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s assistance. “This province was given a target of producing 80 000 tonnes of small grains,” he said.
WFP Zimbabwe deputy country director Mr Niels Balzer said the field days were a result of projects aimed at reducing the potential negative effects of the drought and build resilience by improving food production and marketing opportunities.
Mr Balzer said the transition from food aid to food assistance was offering a better future as it was crafting solutions to deal with the root causes of hunger. “Our changing climate demands that we put the resilience of families and communities at the heart of our efforts to reach zero hunger,” he said.
“When providing assistance, we are deploying all of our creativity through tools that can help vulnerable and poor people and their families better prepare, deal with and recover from climate shocks.”
WFP has been supporting smallholder farmers with inputs since 2014.