CHIREDZI - Sugarcane farmers in the Lowveld particularly small scale farmers have embraced the recently introduced command agriculture concept which was introduced by the government in order to mitigate food shortages and stop maize importation in the country, TellZim has learnt.
Speaking during a field tour which was attended by various A2 farmers, Edmore Veterai, an A2 farmer who is also the chairperson of Zimbabwe Sugarcane Development Association (ZSDA) said command agriculture will definitely mitigate food shortages since it has brought Zimbabwean farmer into focus.
"I think this is an excellent move since command agriculture has brought Zimbabwean farmer into focus since a lot of farmers were ignoring and neglecting and vandalising very good colonial irrigation infrastructure so command agric will revive and I think as Zimbabwean we must learn to appreciate sundry cost," said Veterai.
Veterai also said that command agriculture will generate more income to the farmer compared to the income they were getting from sugarcane growing and it will promote high yields since command agriculture comes with a package of inputs and a strong supervisory team.
"Under command agriculture we earn more income when growing maize compared to sugarcane because we earn a total of 15 tonnes per hectare which is $5 850 per hectare which far much high than what we earn from sugarcane.
We also appreciate that command agriculture have a strong supervisory team which ensures that farmers do not divert inputs to other use and as farmers we are given hands on for the first time by our agricultural extension officers." he said.
Chenesai Magombiro, ward 31 A2 farmer who had since given five hectares towards command irrigation also hailed command agriculture since it promotes crop rotation which increase yields and farmers no longer have to stick to growing sugarcane only.
"It is a great move considering that the government will provide us with all the inputs till we harvest the crop. What I like most about the idea is that it promotes crop rotation especially to sugarcane farmer who were only planting sugarcane, crop rotation increases yields and is a good method of pests control," said Magombiro.
Major Dingani Makwenjere who is the team leader of command agriculture in Chiredzi district also said farmer in the district have embraced command agriculture though others still have to be educated on the importance of the phenomenon.
"Some farmers have adopted the concept but we hope that farmers with irrigable land will give us more hectrage under command agriculture since the district is highly affected with drought," said Makwenjere.
He also said some farmers are willing but they do not have irrigation facilities like farmers along Chiredzi River if given pumps to pump water for irrigation they can increase command irrigation in the Lowveld. news