The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) Seeds has collaborated with the Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (Agritex) to drive the uptake of urban and climate-smart agriculture.
This came to the fore during a Maize Field Day meeting held at the Harare South Retreat at a plot owned by Mrs. Shamiso Marumisa that was presided over by Honourable Tongai Mnangagwa, the Member of the House Assembly for Harare South.
ARDA Seeds was established in 2002 to address the challenges of shortages of inputs during the height of the land redistribution exercise.
Mrs. Marumisa’s farm has a thriving maize crop that is nearing harvesting thanks to the provision of seeds and fertilizer by ARDA Seeds with Agritex officers coming in with agricultural extension services. Hon. Mnangagwa said the bumper harvest was a sign that urban farmers were contributing to the nation’s food and nutrition security hence the need to provide such capable farmers with more land.
“I am excited by the good work exhibited by the farmers here in Harare South Constituency. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to ARDA Seeds and Agritex who partnered to bring about such a bumper harvest in an urban area. By the same token, I would like to assure such farmers that we are working with the ministry of agriculture to avail more land to such deserving farmers. We have tasked these farmers to be on the waiting list for allocations of land measuring 50 hectares and above,” Hon. Mnangagwa said.
Mrs. Marumisa was full of praises to ARDA Seeds’ ZS265 maize variety that she used on her plot.
“On my 1.5ha plot, I never encountered any problems of pests attacking my maize crop. The rain this season was good. I am expecting 12 tonnes of maize per hectare so I look forward to harvesting something like 18 tonnes on this piece of land. I am more than grateful to ARDA Seeds and Agritex for empowering us as small-scale, urban-based farmers,” Mrs. Marumisa said.
Mr. Jemitias Mukiwa, the ARDA Seeds Sales and Marketing Executive attributed the success of the maize crop to the fact that the ZS265 variety is a medium maturing, and climate-smart seed that is also drought-tolerant.
Mrs. Teclar Mutinhira, the Agritex District Agricultural Extension Officer for Harare Urban and Seke District urged farmers to forward soil samples to laboratories to determine the requirements for fertilizer.
“It’s important to first test the soil to determine its acidity or alkalinity (soil PH). We also advocate the practice of Pfumvudza conservation farming. This is a precision type of farming. This concept promotes the optimum application of fertilizer. Coupled with this, good crop management is of paramount importance,” Mrs. Mutinhira said