FARMERS across the country who have received inputs under the Climate-Proofed Presidential Inputs Programme, commonly known as Intwasa/Pfumvudza have been advised to hold on until the first rains fall before planting.

That way, under the programme that has been embraced by farmers in all eight rural provinces, they are assured of enough moisture for the seeds to germinate.

The farming inputs under the programme have been distributed in all provinces to individual farmers who have completed holing, liming and mulching.

To protect the inputs, the farmers have been urged to wait until the first effective rains before they engage in any planting activities.

For the past month, farmers have been undergoing training on Intwasa/Pfumvudza while launches have been held in almost all the provinces.

Intwasa/Pfumvudza promotes conservation farming techniques and involves use of small plots on smallholder farms and applying efficient agronomic practices for higher returns.

The main distribution effort is being done this month so that all farmers have their inputs on their farms before the rains fall.

Farmers have to have undergone the training and done their land preparation to show their commitment before they receive the inputs.

The programme aims to boost household food security and ensure farmers move from subsistence towards prosperity.

Through Intwasa/Pfumvudza and the Command Agriculture programme, President Mnangagwa is confident that Zimbabwe will wave goodbye to food imports in two years, especially considering that the country expects normal to above normal rains this season.

In an interview last week, Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos said almost all the provinces should have done provincial launches.

He said he was happy that all the farmers who had completed holing, liming and mulching had received their inputs and were waiting for the first rains.

“Once they receive their inputs they should hold until the first rains start before planting when it comes to the cereal crops. A substantial amount of inputs is indeed in place and ready for distribution. People are being encouraged to expedite the readiness of their plots, that is holing and then mulching. Only individuals that have prepared their three plots will benefit from the Climate Smart Presidential Input Scheme.

Once they receive their inputs they should hold until the first rains start before planting when it comes to the cereal crops,” said Deputy Minister Haritatos.

He said the Government is also encouraging farmers to approach agricultural extension officers with any questions or guidance that is needed to ensure maximum production and yields from Intwasa/Pfumvudza.

Meanwhile, at the Midlands provincial launch in Shurugwi on Friday, the Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution Larry Mavima said a total of 287 762 households which will feed into 1,8 million farmers nationally had registered for the programme in Midlands.

Minister Mavima was addressing villagers, representatives of seed houses and Government officials attending the launch of the Midlands Intwasa/ Pfumvudza programme at Mr Samson Mutubuki’s plot in Ward 17, Shurugwi.

Mr Mutubuki has three hectares under the programme with two under maize and the other under soya beans.

Minister Mavima said the province has trained 205 000 households.

“I’m reliably informed that the Midlands province has a total of 287 762 households which will feed into the 1,8 million farmers nationally. Currently the province has trained 205 000 households (71percent) and adoption is at 52 percent which is 107 000 households. I appreciate the introduction of the concept and hope that other farmers will emulate the good example we are witnessing today,” he said.

Minister Mavima said the Government has fully supported the programme aimed at ending hunger from the family structure to the national level.

“The Government has fully supported the Intwasa/Pfumvudza concept with all inputs to boost the yields of the once thriving cereal production in the country as follows, maize seed 12 500 tonnes, small grains (sorghum and millet), sesame, groundnuts, cowpeas, sugar beans and sunflower. Vegetable seed, fall armyworm control chemicals, knapsack sprayers, basal fertiliser including carry-over stocks, will be 90 000 tonnes of compound D, top dressing carry-over stocks, 90 000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate,” he said.

Shurugwi North MP Cde Robson Nyathi said he was confident that a lot of farmers in his area and the province at large will register for the programme after they witness how it is done.

“This concept which has the support of President Mnangagwa should be embraced by everyone. We need to register in numbers so that we also play our part in producing cereal so that the Government reduces the import bill,” he said.