The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
WITH Zimbabwe achieving yet another winter wheat production record of over 460 000 tonnes, women farmers’ contribution has not gone unnoticed as of the total area planted 10 percent was from them and their contribution to the total production was about five percent.
After recording the highest wheat harvest since production of the cereal started of 375 000 metric tonnes last year, Zimbabwe has done it again this year as the Second Republic continues to boost food security and nutrition in line with Vision 2030.
The harvest from this year’s winter wheat crop is 100 000 metric tonnes more than national demand, which stands at 360 000 metric tonnes. The attainment of soft wheat self-sufficiency is premised on the Government’s agricultural transformation anchored on active private and public sector participation.
In an interview, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development’s Permanent Secretary Professor Obert Jiri said women continue to prove their mettle in farming.
“Of the total area planted under wheat this year of 90 192 hectares, 10 percent was from women farmers and their contribution to the total production is about five percent. Female farmers are defining the success story of the land reform programme, with many contributing significantly to food security for the nation and they continue to rise fast to levels unparalleled by their male counterparts. Unlike in the past, women are playing a leading role in farming projects and contributing to food security in their districts, provinces and country as a whole. Women are an important demographic of our population and they are the most vital cog in the agricultural production.”
Some of these women involved in agriculture are small-scale farmers, Ms Felida Ncube and Ms Sirira Moyo of Nyamandlovu in Umguza District, Matabeleland North Province. Sometime back, the women told our sister paper, Chronicle that for more than 20 years, they have been working side by side at Mpandeni Farm, not only for their own benefit, but to boost food security in the country.
The two neighbours have since turned their plot into a green belt, which is now the envy of many, while they have taken many by surprise to become one of the best-performing female farmers at Mpandeni Farm.
Some locals are drawing inspiration from the two female farmers who are fully dedicated to tilling their land and also contributing to wheat production in the country.
Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust president Mrs Depinah Nkomo is on record stating that women play a significant role in ensuring food security and they should be given access to resources in order to bridge the gaps of gender inequalities. She has said it was critical to empower smallholder farmers on infrastructural development and also on market requirements.
“Smallholder farmers, especially women, require irrigation infrastructure so they can produce high value crops throughout the year. Some of the women have the zeal to produce but lack technical expertise and do not have adequate information on the market requirements,” she once said.
In an interview, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZFCU) president Dr Shadreck Makombe said as the agriculture sector was the backbone of the country’s economy, empowering women in the sector was critical. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Zimbabwe Approximately 80 percent of women live in the communal areas where they constitute 61 percent of the farmers and provide 70 percent of the labour.