ad> Farmers encouraged to venture into Potato farming

Farmers encouraged to venture into Potato farming

Farmers encouraged to venture into Potato farming

 In a bid to mitigate the effects of the El Nino-induced drought, farmers are being encouraged to cultivate potatoes, a move aimed at contributing to the nation’s food security and economic growth especially in the drought hard-hit areas of Buhera constituency.

The 2023/24 farming season was severely impacted by the prolonged dry spell, resulting in a disastrous maize harvest in Murambinda.

 In response to the crisis, the responsible authority declared the drought a state of national disaster on April 3, prompting urgent action from the government.

Farmers with irrigation equipment are being urged to switch to potato farming to help curb the hunger crisis.

 According to agronomists, maize, wheat, and potatoes are the key crops that can ensure food security in the country.

The Agritex department has started a training programme to equip farmers with the skills necessary for successful potato production.

The initiative aims to encourage farmers to adopt potato farming on a large scale, thereby enhancing food security and reducing the impact of the drought.

 Speaking at a field day at a joint venture potato farm in Gwama farm, farmers were urge to venture into potato farming as a measure to ensure food security and the crop is easy to maintain.

 Manicaland Provincial Director for Agritex, said: “This year, three crops were identified as priority crops, and potatoes are among them, recognized for their potential as both a cash crop and a food security crop.”

The country aims to cultivate 6,750 hectares of potatoes to mitigate the effects of the drought.

To achieve this goal, the Department of Agritex, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, is providing training and skills development programmes for farmers.

 “Like other provinces, we have Potatoes seen as solution to El Nino-induced drought been severely impacted by climate change, leading to the El Nino-induced drought, which prompted the government to declare 2024 a drought year,” he said.

Agritex’ officer Mrs. Shelani highlighted the advantages of potato farming, noting that it can be grown three times a year, making it a valuable crop for food security. She expressed her hope that farmers would learn from the successful experience at the Gwama cooperative and Mhuru farm, where the potato crop is thriving.

Manicaland provincial Minister praised the Gwama cooperative, which has yielded positive results and encourage collaborative work among farmers.

She encouraged farmers to engage in joint ventures to maximise productivity and avoid the risk of losing their land.

She commended the farm owners for their contribution to food security in the province and country. “I would want to thank the farm owners here for a great job they are doing in securing food security in the province and in the country as a whole.

We are urging all farmers who have land but lack in capital to do joint ventures so that land is utilized, especially those in areas where irrigation can be done.

If one fails to utilize the land they have, I have been given the powers to take that land and give to those who are capable, it is an instruction from the president,” said provincial Minister.

Zimbabwe is currently faced with a serious drought and Buhera constituency is one of the hard-hit areas which makes them more vulnerable and the initiative of potato farming can be a solution to mitigate the effects of hunger as many villagers are surviving on donor and government food aide schemes which in sometimes fell short .

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