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HomeAgricultureGovernment initiates drought strategies for El-Nino

Government initiates drought strategies for El-Nino

Honourable Dr. A.J. Masuka

Government initiates drought strategies for El-Nino

By Nomagugu Konke

Government has initiated five mitigation pillars to deal with the El-Niño induced drought and to withstand future climate induced shock.

Speaking after this week’s Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Dr Jenfan Muswere said the country has initiated interventions focused on mitigation and resilience-building classified into five pillars which include, Cereals; Horticulture; Livestock; Fisheries and Water and Irrigation.

“Generally the resilience-building plan entails 100% agro-ecological matching of crops together with 100% adoption of Pfumvudza/Intwasa with supplementing irrigation where possible at critical stages by all households; and capacitation of institutions, workers and farmers.

“Regarding contingency mitigation measures for cereals, the Government will import 300 000 metric tons of maize, while grain movement from areas with surplus to areas with deficit will be facilitated by the Grain Marketing Board.

“This in addition to the wheat-based food security strategy which will contribute over 500 000 metric tons to the strategic grain reserve contributing to the maximum social welfare requirements of 780 000 metric tons.

“Pertaining to Horticulture, the focus will be on the development of the 10 000 Village Business Units across all provinces. To this end, drilling rigs have been re-distributed according to the number of villages by province. To date, 1 329 128 of the 3.5 million vegetable packs have been distributed, 1 294 000 sweet potato virus-free elite vines have been distributed to 72 520 farmers and 229 of the targeted 10 000 Village Business Units established,” he said.

He also said livestock Mitigation and Resilience Strategies include the private sector importing 400 000 metric tons of maize for stock feed; and construction of 1 620 water troughs in 1 620 rural Wards.

 “To date, 1 464 756 hay bales have been produced. Going forward, 1 000 dip tanks will be rehabilitated, while the distribution of 18 million indigenous chickens and 1.8 million goats will be accelerated under the Presidential Poultry and Goat Schemes.

“Concerning Fisheries, the country has 59 dams stocked with 465 000 fingerlings. Commercial cage fishing will be promoted as a business on 134 dams. It is expected that 20 000 fish ponds will be established on 10 000 Village Business Units by November 2024, while the Government production of fingerlings is expanded annually by 60%,” said the Minister.

 Minister Muswere said the country has a total of 10 600 dams with potential to irrigate 1.46 million hectares and If the country taps into Trans boundary waters of the Zambezi river around Mlibizi and Kanyemba areas, an additional 450 000 hectares can be irrigated.

“Pertaining to mechanization, the number of tractors has increased by 60% and combine harvesters by 45% since the launch of the Agricultural Food Systems and Rural Transformation Strategy in 2020.

“To date the Belarus facility has provided the country with 1 337 tractors while a further 3 161 tractors and 80 combine harvesters are expected, while Bain New Holland will avail 700 tractors, and John Deere will avail 1300 tractors, 80 combine harvesters, 600 planters, and 200 boom sprayers,” he said.

He also said there are adequate grain stocks in the Strategic Grain Reserve to last until year end.

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