Farmers under the command agriculture programme have been urged to keep detailed records as they help them to graduate into the commercial farming sector and produce good yields.

To many farmers who have embraced command agriculture, it has become the order of the day to register a bumper harvest and the Zimbili farmers in Umzingwane District are now a part of the high yield farming group.

The farmers said it is important therefore to follow all the traits that distinguish command agriculture from mere farming in order to produce even greater yields.

An Agronomist from Umzingwane District, Mr Nkululeko Nyoni said it explained the importance of record keeping not only to farmers but to other stakeholders in the farming sector.

“It is important for you farmers to keep records as it helps you to know what you are doing. It also helps you when you are seeking advice from expects,” he said.

A command agriculture farmer at Zimbili, Mrs Simangele Ndlovu hailed the programme, saying as farmers, it has given them knowledge that will help them grow.

“I have learnt so much from this programme and I encourage other farmers to join us in working towards hunger alleviation,” she said.

The programme’s main objective is to ensure food self sufficiency for the country.

Mrs Sinanzekile Mushara, an Arts Officer for the District Administrator’s Office in Mbembesi, commended farmers for their good work, stating that there won’t be food shortages this year as farmers have produced enough.

Farmers were encouraged to follow instructions in the command agriculture programme that include timing, spacing and fertliser application, among others.

Meanwhile, farmers in Zimbili have bemoaned delays in completing a 45 hectare irrigation scheme, highlighting that the facility could bring a positive change to their community.

In 2015, ward 19 farmers under Chief Sigola benefited from the Belarus deal initiated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he was still Vice President.

However, the facility is yet to be utilised as it has taken more than three years to complete the pipe-laying phase.

The fully electrified irrigation scheme is well resourced with a tractor, planter, mounted plough and watering equipment.

The frustrated farmers from the area told the ZBC News that all the agricultural utilities from Belarus are gathering dust as relevant departments are taking long to finish constructing the irrigation system.

“Now we could be contributing to the national economy but it is not the case as the facility is yet to be completed. We have enough water and equipment sourced in Belarus to improve our productivity,” said Mr Enock Dube.

“It looks like the piping phase will never be completed. We have been trying to raise funds to fence up the area, and we appeal to the government and anyone concerned to intervene,” said Mr Pilate Sibanda.

“The irrigation project could go a long way in uplifting women in our community. We women have a strong passion for farming but it is painful to think that the equipment will end up developing problems before they are utilised,” another farmer, Josphine Khumalo said.

In recent years, the government has intensified efforts having many irrigation schemes in Matabeleland as the region receives unreliable rainfall to undertake full scale crop production.