WOMEN who have traditionally had challenges with access to tillage and irrigation facilities are set to benefit from the Pfumvudza programme recently launched by the Government.
Many female smallholder farmers do not have draught power and cannot afford irrigation equipment and Pfumvudza has presented a better option, as they only have to make planting stations (holes) while mulch will help in moisture conservation.
Pfumvudza promotes 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.
Under the Pfumvudza concept, communal farmers will practice conservation agriculture for them to benefit under the Presidential Inputs Scheme, which has since been transformed into the Climate-Proofed Presidential Inputs Programme.
The concept, which will be applied to maize, traditional grains and oil seeds will also commercialise smallholder agriculture.
The Permanent Secretary for Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, Dr John Basera, last week said more women had been trained under the Pfumvudza programme than men.
“A total of 1 623 361 smallholder farmers which is 90 percent of our target have so far been trained by our extension officers as at 14 August, 2020 and the training of farmers is expected to be completed by mid-September, especially with improved mobility,” said Mr Basera.
“We are also excited about women participation in this programme as almost 55 percent of the trained farmers are female. The same proportion also applies to adoption of the concept.
“Of the 1 623 361 farmers trained so far, 887 487 are females and 735 874 males.”
World Bank senior agriculture specialist, Dr Easther Chigumira, said the concept was going to make a positive impact on women and youths.
“Women and youth are particularly affected by climate vulnerability and extreme events. It is, therefore, plausible that high adoption and participation of the Pfumvudza concept has come from women.
“In the World Bank’s Climate Smart Agriculture Investment Plan (CSAIP), we outline investment opportunities for women and youth that can provide further opportunities and enhance their income.”
The Pfumvudza programme is one of the key touch points in the Agriculture Recovery Plan, a blueprint aimed at reversing declining production and productivity trends in the agricultural sector.
The programme will put agriculture on a firm foundation to contribute significantly to a pro-poor and inclusive economic growth trajectory which is a requisite ingredient to the attainment of Vision 2030.
Pfumvudza has been adopted by Government as a measure to address the problem of low production and productivity, which continues to negatively affect the food and security situation in Zimbabwe.
The programme targets to support at least 1,8 million vulnerable households.
Each household is expected to produce at least one tonne of cereal crops; maize and traditional grains from the two plots and at least 200kg of oil seeds from the third plot.
By supporting over 1.8 million households, Government is expecting about 1.8 million tonnes of grain, which is almost 90 percent of the national food requirements.
The programme is also expected to produce 365 000 tonnes of oil seed against a national requirement of 220 000 tonnes of oil seeds.