Government, in partnership with Tongaat Hulett, has produced 1 186 tonnes of irrigated maize here. The yield will enhance food security in the province, which had been facing recurrent droughts.
Tongaat partnered the Government to grow winter maize under the Smart Agriculture Programme to cushion the province.
Addressing guests during a tour of Tongaat fields on Wednesday, Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Ezra Chadzamira said the programme deserved to be expanded to cover other crops.
Minister Chadzamira, who is also the Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chairman, said there was need for farmers with irrigation facilities to scale up production.
“As a province, we must heed calls from President Mnangagwa to enhance production,” he said.
“We should also try to adapt to climate change, which continues to affect us on a daily basis.
“We are calling on those with irrigation facilities to scale up their production to boost the country’s food stocks. We are also expecting the programme to expand in the near future by introducing other crops like wheat and soya beans.”
Minister Chadzamira said agricultural research stations in the Lowveld were supposed to up their game and identify other crops, which can be grown in the arid area to boost Masvingo’s food security through irrigation.
Meanwhile, power cuts are being blamed for projected poor winter wheat and maize harvests this year.
Masvingo Provincial Agritex officer Mr Aaron Muchazivepi said the intermittent power cuts affected crop production in the low veld especially the winter maize.
“Irrigation farming requires electricity to pump water from the dams into the canals and this was hindered by power shortages resulting to crop failure due to moisture stresses,” he said.
“Agricultural activities, especially irrigation farming is very important and its development and increased productivity is in line with Government’s Smart Agriculture initiative.”