The Pfumvudza concept has potential to boost Zimbabwe’s agricultural yields if properly done, the Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA) chief executive Mr Clever Isaya has said.
The Government, together with the private sector, is driving the Pfumvudza concept with the aim of boosting crop yields and farm output through conservation farming, thus ensuring more families can not only grow more food but also earn incomes from selling surpluses and cash crops.
“The crop production intensification programme popularly known as Pfumvudza if widely adopted is an opportunity to enhance the country’s subdued agricultural output by increasing yields. Coupled with mechanisation of agriculture, this will go a long way in increasing efficiency and productivity,” said Mr Isaya.
He said as Zimbabwe takes the first steps towards food self-sufficiency, AMA — formed through an Act of Parliament — has a key role to play in the regulation of production, marketing and processing of agricultural products.
Mr Isaya believes agricultural marketing is at the heart of creation of a self-supporting agriculture ecosystem as it enables stimulation of production and accelerated economic growth.
This multiplier effect can only be achieved once the resource-strained farmer has been empowered.
Farmers registered with AMA are able to receive technical guidance through field officers in every province and programmes such as Pfumvudza entail there is going to be fast-tracked adoption and implementation of agro-technology.
“Smallholder farmers will therefore need training on how to use modern technologies for sustainable agricultural development in Zimbabwe. Further, technical guidance is needed in identification of soil quality for the right crops; pest, weed and disease control among others in order for farmers to realise successful farming enterprises.
“This is achieved through our close partnership Agricultural Extension and Technical Services who also disseminate information to farmers on agricultural best practise that lead to increased output for most crops,” he said.
Access to market information is inextricably linked to successful agricultural marketing and underpins fair trading practises, while lack of information creates fertile grounds for unscrupulous practices such as side marketing.
In this case, AMA acts as a reliable source of agricultural-price information. Controlled products such as cotton and strategic grains need to have their prices publicised in time for farmers to plan properly.
An informed farmer retains more bargaining power and has low risk of making losses when selling their crops.
AMA said in Zimbabwe, some farmers have been unable to sell their produce due to lack of information.
For instance, America and Europe have ready markets for horticultural products but farmers are unaware of the opportunity or how they can exploit it, resulting in them failing to boost volumes of what they sell.