Farmers in Mashonaland Central have hailed the command agriculture special programme for import substitution, saying prospects for a bumper harvest are high this summer cropping season.
The consistent rains being received in most parts of the country have added to the farmers’ prospects of a bumper harvest.
A 42-year-old maize producer at Rubberstone farm in Mvurwi, Prince Chipenda who has planted a thriving 100 hectares of the staple crop, says command agriculture has also boosted farmers fortunes at a time the cost of inputs was high.
“We planted this maize in November after receiving inputs under the command agriculture program and the crop has exceeded our expectations. This season has turned out to be better than most seasons in recent history.
“I applaud government’s command agriculture program, it is a pot of honey and it must continue,” Chipenda said.
Agritex Crops and Livestock Extension Officer Mr Vincent Sarai said farmers should maximise on the incessant rainfall by applying split applications of fertiliser to maintain crop nutrition.
“To get such as good crop as Chipenda has done early preparations are required starting in winter. In this area, the season has turned out to be perfect in terms of agriculture and meteorology because we have an even distribution of rains.
“The meteorology department say we have received a lot of rain and dams are full. This is good for those who grew winter wheat and they are already preparing for the season.
“I urge farmers especially small holders to continue scouting and applying small amounts of fertilizer to their crops since it keeps on raining,” said Sarai.
The season has not been without its challenges as some farmers under the command agriculture scheme are yet to receive the second application of fertilizer which is now due in addition to pests attacking crops.
Agriculture is expected to boost rural economy and improve living standards under the National Development Strategy One economic blueprint.