Governor and Resident Minister for Mashonaland Central Province, Advocate Martin Dinha, has challenged agricultural extension officers to move away from the culture of disseminating technical expertise to farmers from offices or at field days only, but to cast their net wide by practically engaging farmers in their respective districts.Speaking at a national cropping competition sponsored by Seed-co at Mr. and Mrs. Gomberaâ€™s homestead in Chiweshe, Advocate Dinha called on agricultural extension officers to come on board and consolidate the gains of the land reform program by practically working with the rural, communal, A1 and A2 farmers from the onset of the season to harvesting time.
â€œWhat is worrying me is that we have deployed Arex officers in all districts but surprisingly they only appear at field days. Vanenge vakarara nguva yekurima (they would be asleep during ploughing time), so what I am saying is that we need you to work with farmers on the ground in their fields and not to disseminate information from offices,â€ said advocate Dinha.
Host farmer, Mr. Ecknose Gombera, who is this yearâ€™s Mash-Central Farmer of The Year and is expecting over seven tonnes from his one hectare of land, spoke on the importance of applying proper farming techniques as the only way to produce good yields.
He said, â€œPano ndakaisa manyowa anokwana ngoro 102, saka zvinokosha kuumba ivhu – ndochinhu chikuru sezvamunoona pano ivhu iri ishapa asi takariumba and tirikutarisira gohwo repamusoro-soro (I applied 102 loads worth of manure on this soil and we are expecting a high yield).â€
The field day attracted hundreds of farmers, Mashonaland Central district Agritex officers and various other stakeholders who thronged the Gombera homestead to learn and share information on how to boost productivity with crop assessment.
The province is expected to produce a surplus of over 134 thousand tones of commercial maize this season.