ZIMBABWE Farmers’ Union in partnership with NORAD through SACAU has established young farmers’ clubs in more than 50 primary and secondary schools around Mutare, Mutasa and Makoni districts to enhance Conservation Agriculture(CA) adoption by the surrounding communities.
‘CA’ is a set of soil management practices that minimise the disruption of the soils structure, composition and natural biodiversity.
It has the potential to improve yields, while improving the long-term environmental and financial sustainability of farming.
Young farmers’ clubs in the 50 schools are being used as community development agents for promoting adaptation, and mitigation of climate change effects.
The approach followed by the project is through a Lead Farmer approach, with the aim being to directly train and mentor lead farmers who will become trainers and advocates of CA in their neighbourhoods.
It commenced in 2014 and has seen a high adoption rate by the communities as it reduces labour costs, produces higher yields and ensure maximum use of nutrients by the plants.
ZFU has since been working hand-in-hand with Agritex to educate students and community members on how to practice CA, as well as setting demonstration plots in each of the schools.
Students and community members are growing maize and legumes like peas and sugar beans.
In Makoni schools like Mabvazuva, St Josephs, St Judes, Forkington,” udiriro, Mutungagore, Tsanzaguru, Handina, Mangunda, Mukuvapasi, Nerwande, Nyakuipa, Chitsva, Groobi, Mucheke and St Theresa have benefitted from the programme.
Hartzell, Mutasa, Sadziwa, St Colombus, Ruda,” uwu, Muterere, Mbaza, St Peters, Lorreto, Nyatsanza, Gatsi, Nyakatsapa, Vumbunu, Zongoro and St Georges Muchena primary schools are the beneficiaries in Mutasa District.
Mutare District has Chikwariro, Mafararikwa, Mt Makomwe, Nyakatsa, Chipfatsura, St “ndrews, Mwandiambira, Muradzikwa, St Theresa Gandayi, Chishakwe, St Werburghs primary schools, Odzi, Holy Ghost, Nyagundi, Rowa, Zarawa, St Noah secondary schools.
ZFU Manicaland provincial manager, Mr Daniel Mungazi, said: We are not only focusing on school children in this project, but we are also aiming at increasing adoption of conservation agriculture by the community.
The demonstrations plots are established at the schools working together with the community through the school development committees.
CA reduces labour cost, produces higher yields and ensures maximum use of nutrients by the plants. And if done well the yields can be very high.