In a world where changes in weather patterns are the order of the day, strategies to counter the changes have to be fashioned in order for humanity to survive.
Climate change; reduction in rainfall days, heavy destructive down pours that are usually followed by long dry spells have caused the traditional farming methods to be ineffective leaving many families in hunger and dire poverty.
The Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union, in partnership with Barclays Bank under the program Fit For Life Young Farmers’ Clubs Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Program, works on realizing food security for households despite climate change challenges.
Under the program, ZFU and Barclays Bank introduced a young farmers’ clubs Pfumvudza Competition were young farmers were to plant pfumvudza packs using Conservation Agriculture (CA) principles.
A pfumvudza pack has maize seed, fertilizer and lime enough for a 39m X 16m plot to produce enough maize to feed a family of six for a full year if properly managed.
Top three young farmers’ clubs from five provinces namely Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Midlands and Manicaland made it to the finals of the competition were Why and Friends Young Farmers’ Club (YFC) of Bindura District Mashonaland Centralemerged as the winner.
The winning Young Farmers’ Club being made up of school drop outs who went through the Fit For Life program is proof that Fit For Life equipped children with education and life skills that enable them to lead sustainable livelihoods.
Judging was based on soil and water conservation techniques, timely land preparation, timely planting, principles of CA, organic/ basal fertilizer application.
There was evidence that the winning YFC has been coached on these aspects and the crop was there to underline this.
Speaking at a field day held at Mashambanaka Primary school to celebrate the winning YFC, ZFU’s Chief Economist Mr Prince Kuipa echoed how education was the primary reason for the competition.
“Even those who did not win this completion, I would like to say you too are winners because you gained knowledge, you have been educated,” he said.
The excited Why and Friends club members thanked ZFU and Barclays Bank for the opportunity to be part of the program.
“I am excited and very grateful because through Fit For Life I have learnt that with farming you start with whatever you have and from wherever you are,” said one Fit For Life graduate, Hardlife.
With just $50.00 farmers can purchase pfumvudza packs and when properly planted and managed using CA principles for example mulching which holds moisture and prevents weed growth, farmers are assured of a great harvest.
Sticking to traditional planting methods has made many farmers to learn about climate change the hard way.