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Agriculture Provincial Newspapers Telegraph

Pfumvudza conserves moisture


CHINHOYI – THE Pfumvudza concept is a crop production intensification approach
under which farmers ensure efficient use of resources on a small area of land.

Instead of ploughing and sowing a large area, the Pfumvudza concept involves
planting crops in small holes that trap rainwater. The soil is continuously covered, so
that the moisture is conserved.

Mashonaland West Provincial Agronomist, Siyena Makaza, said Pfumvudza is
conservation agriculture because it conserves both soil and moisture. The main
principles of Pfumvudza are minimum soil disturbance, mulching, rotation/crop
interactions and timely/precise activities.

“Minimum soil disturbance, because you are only disturbing the area where you are
to drop the seed or the plant, or you can do direct seeding, farmers can do potholing
using hoes or mechanisation using ripper lines.

“Mulching, (gumbeze rehuswa) also known as crop residue or (mashanga) put on
top of field to control soil erosion, through controlling rain drop impact direct on the
soil this prevents erosion as well. The mulch improves percolation and infiltration of
water into the soil,” explained Makaza.

The mulch will eventually breakdown into humus and organic matter that will improve
the soil structure, texture and fertility.

“The Ministry of Agriculture through the Department of Agritex, is encouraging
farmers not to burn crop residue and grass, so as to recycle the nutrients which
should be used as mulch. This will save in the foreign currency used to import
potassium needed.

“The mulch will also suppress or smoother the weeds, it also aides in evaporation of
water or moisture to loosen from the soil, “she explained.

Makaza said that rotation/crop interaction helps in nutrient recycling, it also takes
different root zone. It also breaks down pests and disease cycle.

Timely digging is done soon after harvesting, and when the field is still wet (pasi
pachiri panyoro), whereby the farmer is doing land preparation waiting for the rains.
The other activities done will be planting while fertiliser application will be done
precisely at the time of planting.

“Farmers in Mashonaland West Province are being given the Pfumvudza packages
according to the agro-ecological locations,” Makaza said.

Conservation Agriculture (CA) is one practice that assures the farmer of food
security through high and sustained yields, and the conservation of the natural
resource base through soil erosion control and soil fertility build up.

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