Umzingwane, (Ilanga-New Ziana) -Communal farmers in Umzingwane district, Matabeleland South province have been urged to desist from the practice of waiting for food handouts from the government and engage in farming for self-sufficiency.
An elder from Bonjeni village under chief Gwebu, Daniel Zondo said most of the fields had been abandoned or turned into grazing pastures because people were now lazy to plough or till their land.
“The dependency syndrome has totally killed the spirit of farming here in Umzingwane. This has been coupled by government food handouts hence people are lazy to do farming,” he said.
“I am therefore appealing to Agritex officers to encourage communal farmers to till their land and desist from waiting for food handouts. Some people who are beneficiaries of farming inputs such as fertilizer and maize seed sell them to buy beer, saying government will provide them with food.
Zondo added, “I am surprised what Agritex extension workers are doing here because they have no work to do. As locals we urge these workers to take a leading role in teaching farmers about modern farming so that people can desist from laziness.”
Crop and Livestock department officer Mkhunjulelwa Ndlovu explained the roles and responsibilities of extension workers.
“Extension workers are there to do farmer capacity building, linking farmers to markets, coordination of programs, early warning systems as well as database creation on livestock and cropping systems,” he said.
The situation is worse at Esikhoveni and Bonjeni villages where some communal farmers sold their fields to people who were evicted from near McDonalds bricks along the Bulawayo-Gwanda road.
“People’s laziness has gone to unprecedented levels because AGRITEX workers are locals who do not care about their duties but concentrate on their homesteads ahead of work,” said another villager elder from Bonjeni.