Farmers undergo agroforestry training

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DEVELOPMENT Aid from People to People (DAPP) has partnered with local authorities to train over 1 000 Mutasa farmers in agroforestry, mainly to increase soil fertility and reduce land degradation at house- hold level.

The exercise falls under the United Nations Environment Programme-funded farmers’ club initiative which kicked off in February this year.

It was funded to the tune of $100 000 and is expected to end in February 2019.

The programme seeks to empower small-scale farmers to become food secure through capacity building.

Agroforestry is a land use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland.

It combines shrubs and trees in agricultural and forestry technologies to create more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy, ecologically sound and sustainable land-use systems.

Farmers in Mutasa are being trained in agroforestry for domestic purposes, to increase the fertility of soils in the fields and as protection for gardens and fields.

The programme also encourages farmers to plant gum trees that will be used for domestic purposes.

To increase the fertility of soils in the fields, the programme is facilitating the planting of nitrogen-fixing trees.

DAPP farming instructor Mr Struggle Muzavazi said: “Fruit and fodder trees will be promoted as well as vetiver grass that reduces soil erosion. Farmers are being encouraged to plant trees as live fencing around their gardens and fields.

“We are also training farmers in entrepreneurship to access and use market information, actively identify viable markets and manage administrative components such as record keeping and financial management.

“By the end of this farmers club programme, at least 100 small-scale irrigation systems equipped with deep wells fitted with rope and washer pumps to avail water for perennial horticulture irrigation, must have been installed around the district.”