DEVELOPMENT Aid from People to People has embarked on the ‘Farmers Club’ concept targeted at 1 000 small-scale farmers in wards 11 and 19 of Mutasa District.
The project which constitutes 60 percent women and 40 percent men started in January and is expected to end in 2019. Its main objective is to empower small-scale farmers to become food secure through capacity building. This includes provision of the requisite farming knowledge and skills on modern methods, which include conservation agriculture and agro-forestry. The concept also seeks to empower the targeted farmers with knowledge that will enable them to respond to the needs of their families and community while increasing their income through inclusion in the integrated market economy.
Farmers are exposed to general knowledge and skills within nutrition, health and community development, as an integrated part of the training.
Project leaders in four groups of 250 farmers provide theoretical farmers’ training, while extension officers from Agriex will provide practical knowledge to target groups. DAPP farming instructor, Mr Struggle Muzavazi, said the programme was fully prescribed.
“Our target is 1 000 farmers, but we have already exceeded that number. By the end of our programme, farmers should be able to sustain themselves in practice and finance. We have realised that seasons are changing such that farmers end up not knowing the right crop to plant at the right time.
“We are therefore putting demonstration plots in the two wards with a view to educate the farmers on forestation, crop diversification, conservation farming, entrepreneurship and agro-processing of crops like groundnuts and sunflowers into peanut butter and cooking oil.
“In each group of 250 farmers are five groups of 50 farmers and five co-groups of 10 farmers with their leader. This has been done for easy dissemination of information within the groups,” said Mr Mazivisa. He also said DAPP will link these farmers to different markets where they can sell their produce at competitive prices and use the proceeds change their livelihoods.