#Zimbabwe #AgriculturalInnovation #ClimateSmartFarming #SeedVarieties #Mechanization #SustainableAgriculture #FoodSecurity #Partnerships #ClimateResilience
In the heart of Zimbabwe, more than 1,300 smallholder farmers gathered for the fourth edition of the seed and mechanization fair, a pivotal event organized by CIMMYT and its partners. The theme, “Harnessing improved seed and mechanization for climate resilience,” resonated with farmers facing challenges from El Niño and climate change.
Since 2020, CIMMYT has been driving seed fairs to encourage smallholder farmers in semi-arid areas to adopt suitable seed varieties and mechanized farming. These efforts are crucial, especially in regions like Mwenezi and Masvingo, where El Niño poses a persistent threat with high temperatures and rainfall deficits.
The fair showcased CIMMYT’s commitment to advocating for the right seeds and farming practices. Christian Thierfelder, a principal cropping systems agronomist at CIMMYT, highlighted the importance of growing the right seed at the right time, considering the unpredictable weather patterns.
As the farming season approaches, farmers eagerly anticipate the benefits of the event. Isaac Mutambara, the district development coordinator from Mwenezi, expressed confidence that farmers are well-equipped with new technology, knowledge of new varieties, and information about weather forecasts, gearing up for the season to achieve the Zimbabwe Vision 2030.
The focus on climate-smart agriculture was evident, with CIMMYT actively breeding drought-tolerant, orange maize with high nutritional value. Thokozile Ndhlela, a maize line development breeder, emphasized the importance of crops with nutritional value for household food security. The promotion of nutritious NUA45 beans, high in iron and zinc, further demonstrated CIMMYT’s commitment to combating malnutrition.
Partnerships played a crucial role in the fair, with machinery manufacturers like Prochoice, Kurima, and Mahindra showcasing cutting-edge equipment. Live demonstrations of two-wheel tractors, basin diggers, and multiple crop threshers highlighted the benefits of scale-appropriate mechanization. Farmers, like Lungiwe Nyathi, appreciated the practicality of these innovations in easing farming operations.
Seed companies, including AgriSeeds, SeedCo, and Super Fert, marketed appropriate seed varieties for bumper harvests. High sales, reaching a total value of US$6,450, reflected farmers’ enthusiasm for quality seeds. Vouchers were distributed to farmers making significant cash purchases.
CIMMYT partners, such as Zambuko Livelihoods Initiative and SNV, contributed expertise in sustainable savings, lending schemes, and market access. The World Food Programme (WFP) focused on imparting valuable knowledge and skills for resilience and self-sufficiency. The Mwenezi Development Training Centre (MDTC) encouraged small livestock, and additional partners Cesvi and Sesame for Life introduced high-value crops for export markets.
As the day concluded, farmers left the fair equipped with improved seeds and knowledge of innovative conservation agriculture practices. The event served as a testament to the collaborative efforts of farmers, government, seed companies, and partners, united in promoting sustainable farming practices and ensuring food security for Zimbabwe.
The seed and mechanization fair in Zimbabwe, organized by CIMMYT and its partners, stands as a beacon of hope for smallholder farmers facing challenges from climate change. Through innovative seed varieties, cutting-edge machinery, and strong partnerships, the fair not only equips farmers for the upcoming season but also propels Zimbabwean agriculture towards a sustainable and resilient future.