|Government distributes motorbikes to extension officers|
|Tuesday, 12 June 2012 19:09|
THE Government last week unveiled 63 state-of-the-art motorbikes to be used by agricultural extension workers in Manicaland in a move that is expected to boost production among farmers.
Speaking at a Pioneer Field Day in Nyamajura last week, the provincial agricultural extension officer, Mr Godfrey Mamhare, said it was their desire to see extension workers being mobile for them to interact effectively with farmers.
"The new fleet will be distributed throughout all the districts of Manicaland. We want our agricultural officer's to be mobile so that they will interact with all our farmers and teach them the right farming methods," he said.
Adding on to the Government's efforts, Pioneer Company donated two motorbikes to the most outstanding agriculture extension officers.
Speaking at the same occasion, farmers, however, expressed concern over the destruction of their crops by wild animals, especially warthogs trespassing from the nearby game reserve.
They appealed to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife to intervene and save them a lot of resources.
The provincial winner in the Good Farming Competition and host of the field day, Mr Felix Ratambwa said, "Warthogs from the nearby game reserve destroyed nearly one and half hectares of my maize field and I feel they are a great challenge to us considering the high prices of inputs. Something should be done to address this problem."
Meanwhile, Africa University has introduced a soil analysis programme which will help farmers to determine the right types of inputs for their farms.
Under the programme, the university will carry out 16-day soil analysis tests that will show the Ph levels of soils in farms and consequently show the type of fertiliser and seeds that compliment those soils.
Speaking at an earlier field day held at Muchena Farm in Penhalonga, Pioneer Seeds sales agronomist, Mr Dennis Simbi, hailed the programme and said it would help to ensure food security through bumper harvests.
"The results from the tests will be used to determine the types of fertiliser to be used on specific soils, for specific crops and this will result in increased harvests. Soil analysis used to be done in Harare only and farmers used to face financial challenges in having the tests carried out, but now we hope all farmers have been capacitated," said Mr Simbi.
Local farmers who attended the field day, however, expressed concerns over the high costs of farming implements and inputs.
Host farmer, Mr Cecil Muchena said: "Our operations are being hampered by exorbitant prices of farming implements and inputs. At times we are forced to buy inputs from the black market and this renders our efforts useless."
Meanwhile, farmers have every reason to look forward to more than a good harvest this season as the annually held Pioneer Good Farming Competition is offering a sponsored trip to the United States of America for the overall winner.
This will be supplementary to the usual prices of fertiliser, seeds and farming implements like tractors and boom sprayers.