Farming & Mining

Villagers engaged in sustainable projects… as villagers fail to deliver grains to GMB

Enterprising villagers in Silobela are now venturing into money spinning projects in trying to boost their income. After harvesting, most villagers here are venturing into sustainable money generating projects to boost their sustenance in these Covid 19 and lockdown induced periods. Viable projects villagers are engaging include cattle fattening, poultry and market gardening.
“We have just finished harvesting, so we have enough maize for household consumption. We are now busy with our nutritional gardens, some villagers are going commercial as they sell some of their market gardening products to other villagers and on roadsides along Kwekwe – Nkayi road. Cattle fattening and poultry projects are thriving as there is availability of feeds from after harvest leftovers”, said Mabel Sibanda, a villager from Ward 18 in Silobela.Most women and young ladies are participating in these projects as the water table is still supporting market gardening as the boreholes have enough water. Also most villagers in Silobela have been failing to deliver maize or any other grains to Grain Marketing Board (GMB) due to perennial droughts that yearly hit hard the area. Grains are an assurance for completely wadding off starvation, hunger or households not buying maize grain from Zhombe or Gokwe for sustenance. Hunger always stalks Silobela villagers every year.
“ Silobela is located in a poor rainfall region, as it receives good rains sparingly. This area falls under low rainfall area that can not support cropping but livestock farming or cattle ranching which thrives in the area. Grains are ‘gold’ here. Whatever grains villagers harvest from their fields, its for domestic consumption and food security in order to get by to the next harvest season the following year. Very few villagers manage to sell grain to GMB here, we usually buy or exchange grain with chickens, goats or other livestock. Villagers had never had surplus grain to sell to GMB”, said Nkosana Ngwenya from Ward 21 in Silobela.
Meanwhile the department of Crop and livestock in Midlands says the province surpassed last year’s winter wheat by almost 100 percent owing to a good response from farmers. The department’s provincial officer Medlinah Magwenzi said that although they did not manage to reach their target, the province recorded a better harvest compared to last year.This year the province was targeting to put 7 000 hectares under wheat although it only managed over 5000 hectares.On related development irrigation schemes in Midlands Province had planted winter crops. At Exchange Irrigation Scheme in Silobela, had planted 482 hectares of winter wheat 1 May to 19 May, with an expected yield of 8 tonnes per hectare. Summer crops are already harvested and being delivered to designated depots.
“We had 120 hectares of maize harvesting 10.25 tonnes per hectare. Soya bean 362 hectares with an expected yield of 3.8 tonnes per hectare. Exchange Dam is still 95 percent full and our irrigation system is in perfect order and coping well. We pray that ZESA will not introduce longer load shedding schedule that might interrupt our irrigation plans. We also hope to have frost free periods this winter”, said Agricultural and Rural Development (ARDA) Exchange Estate Manager Aaron Kache.

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