WATCH: Farmer revels in Pfumvudza/ Intwasa success

31 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
WATCH: Farmer revels in Pfumvudza/ Intwasa success Mrs Siphathisiwe Mguni of Ezinkondweni Village in Umzingwane shows off her matured maize crop planted using the Pfumvudza/Intwasa concept

The Sunday News

Rutendo Nyeve, Sunday News Reporter

EXCEPT for areas that are supplemented through irrigation water, the bulk of Umzingwane District in the sprawling Matabeleland South Province is barren in terms of crop agriculture. 

The district is largely a livestock area and a gold mining hub but Mrs Siphathisiwe Mguni (52) of Ezinkondweni Village in Ward 2 is one to tell a different tale — a tale of how she defied the perceived bareness of the district in a drought year after she followed the Pfumvudza/Intwasa farming concept with detailed discipline.

Mrs Mguni is one of the farmers who adopted the Second Republic initiated sustainable practices and innovative farming model — the Pfumvudza/Intwasa concept and is revelling in food security opulence having triumphed over a drought caused by erratic rains due to the El-Niño phenomenon.

From her crop, she could even afford to share green mealies with neighbours who harvested nothing after their crops wilted in apparent response to the effects of climate change. 

Sunday News visited Mrs Mguni’s homestead on Wednesday last week where she gave a glowing testimony on how her adoption of sustainable and innovative techniques managed to produce a good crop despite below-normal rainfall. 

“I adopted the Pfumvudza/Intwasa farming model and I am seeing its results. As I continued adopting the model, I kept on implementing new climate-proofing innovations that gave me a good crop to the extent that at our last district agricultural show, my crop was the best. I have since adopted a simple water principle which is to slow down the speed of water, sink it and store it. 

“I dug three infiltration pits adjacent to my plots with one-metre width and length and 1,5-metre depth. The pits are filled with stones to allow filtration and storage of water which then allows my crops to have water for a longer period even after the rains,” said Mrs Mguni. 

Mrs Mguni also developed ridges within her plots to control the flow of water. 

She said she correctly adopted the Pfumvudza/Intwasa concept where she dug 75 by 60 centimetre holes, applied 350 grammes of manure, eight grammes of basal dressing fertiliser (Compound D), planted a drought-resistant seed variety and mulched her crop. 

Through adopting this method, Mrs Mguni said she had secured her family of four with food until the next season and even beyond.

“In the last farming season I managed to get 1 000 kilogrammes which is one tonne from my plots here which we have been consuming till today. This year I am sure we managed to surpass that as we shared a lot of green mealies with neighbours who did not have but from what we are left with, I am sure we can get another tonne. So, I can say we got beyond a tonne if I include the green mealies we shared with neighbours,” said Mrs Mguni. 

She has inspired other farmers from her community who have adopted the same climate-proof method of agriculture. 

Her neighbour, Mr Rogers Mtambo (72) said he adopted Pfumvudza/Intwasa after learning from extension workers and Mrs Mguni during a field day held at her homestead last year.

“This is a dry area as you can see. As a community, we requested Mrs Mguni to hold a field day where we contributed food and spent the day learning the climate-proofing farming method. This was after we realised that she had been producing a good crop while some of us were struggling due to low rains. I also adopted the method this year including other water management principles that have even helped my orchard remain green. I got a good crop which I was not expecting due to low rainfall this year,” said Mr Mtambo. 

Introduced in August 2020, the Pfumvudza/Intwasa model is aimed at climate-proofing agriculture by adopting conservation farming techniques and involves use of small plots and applying the correct agronomic practices for higher returns.

The programme, designed mainly for small-scale farmers, is benefiting households in the communal, A1, small-scale commercial farming and old resettlement sectors.

It promotes planting basins; often incorporated with improved seed varieties and mulching.

The initiative encourages novel sustainable agriculture, crop diversification and conservation practices. The goal is to enhance food security and agricultural productivity.

Potholing is a form of conservation agriculture, an approach based on three key principles: minimal soil disturbance, crop rotation or inter-cropping — growing two or more crops together — and permanent soil cover using mulch, straw or other crops.

Instead of ploughing and sowing a large area, the intwasa method involves planting crops in small holes that trap rainwater.




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