By Sharon Chikowore
CHINHOYI – URBAN farmers have started land preparations for the 2022-2023 summer cropping season.
From the rains, which fell in the town since last week, a survey conducted by Telegraph showed that farmers, who have plots, especially those along the main roads, have been clearing and tilling the land even though some are violating the rules, about not cultivating along the stream banks, especially those using land near Cold Stream River.
Vimbai Makuvaro of Brundish, who always produces maize and groundnuts for her family, said the rains show that the farming season is around the corner and land preparations needed to be done.
“We are experiencing climate change nowadays and these rains, which have started might be the beginning of the farming season, since the weather is now unpredictable. Therefore, these rains might be a sign. I decided to start preparing my land so that I will not be behind even though I do not have any seed or fertiliser yet.
Natasha Kaseke, who stays in Cold Stream, also said she was preparing her land so that when the actual rains for farming comes, she would have done something and that this would lessen the pressure of work and the time.
On inputs, she said she sometimes used seed from the grain, which she harvested last season. She was eagerly waiting for the Pfumvudza inputs while preparing her land.
“Sometimes when I don’t have money for certified seed, I carefully select seed from the previous harvest and store in a safe place. It is not always that we use fertilisers. When things are hard, we use manure from chicken or compost manure.
“I do not have enough money to hire labour, that’s why I start preparing my land early so that I do it at my own pace at the same time trying to do everything in time. We grew up knowing that we do not buy maize-meal for sadza, so that is what I am still doing. I do not have to buy when I can produce my own,” said Kaseke.
Mashonaland West Provincial Agritex Officer, Evelyn Ndoro, said urban farmers were also being supported under the Presidential Inputs Scheme. She said farmers would be given inputs for one plot as long as they prepared the land according to the full requirements of Pfumvudza.
Distribution of inputs has already started in Banket, Zvimba and was expected to cascade to Kadoma, Chinhoyi and Karoi on Friday.
Agritex Extension Officer for Makonde, Taurai Paraziva, said there were already urban farmers, who had finished preparing land the Pfumvudza way after training from Agritex officers in Makonde. They had visited some of the farmers, monitoring the work they had done.
“We have our urban Pfumvudza farmers in Chinhoyi, who have done what they have been taught. I call it a positive response after a successful training done by Agritex Officers. The main objective of Pfumvudza is food security at household level then nation at large,” said Paraziva