Intwasa/Pfumvudza transforms widow’s life

The Chronicle

Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief

A 72-year-old Gokwe widow who used to be a beggar is poor no more, thanks to the Intwasa/Pfumvudza climate-proofed farming method that has made her life a success story in her district.

The woman, a mother of three, dug 10 000 Pfumvudza/Intwasa holes with her children at her four-hectare plot in anticipation of a good rainy season and a bumper harvest.

Most women her age normally do less straining household chores because but for Ms Efia Mpofu of Chitungwa Village Ward 5 under Chief Njelele in Gokwe South District, digging the 10 000 Intwasa/Pfumvudza holes took her less than five months to compete.

Due to her work, she does not beg anymore and has piped water at her homestead, eight cattle and 12 goats, some of the measures of her success.

She said she started digging the holes for the 2022/2013 agricultural season in June.

The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) predicted normal to above-normal rains across the country this rainy season.

“I did 10 000 Pfumvudza/Intwasa holes in under five months because I believe in early land preparations,” she said.

The Government announced that this year, the distribution of seed types and varieties for the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme will depend on climatic conditions and soils of each region to boost production.

This year farmers are expected to plant two million hectares of maize. For sorghum, the Government has set a target of 380 000 hectares to produce 304 000 tonnes while 250 000ha are set to be put under pearl millet to produce 150 000 tonnes.

Farmers are expected to plant 25 000ha of finger millet to produce 13 750 tonnes of the crop.

In an interview at her homestead, Ms Mpofu said: “In 2010, I was introduced to the programme that was called dhiga udye (dig and survive) by a German Agro Action programme popularly known as Welthungerhilfe (WHH Zimbabwe) and I remember doing 9 250 holes,” she said.

Ms Mpofu said she managed to get three tonnes of maize from the 9 350 holes.

“This is when my life started changing for the better because I never stopped doing conservation farming or agriculture. This season I did 10 000 holes where I put manure and mulch to preserve the moisture of the soil” she said.

She commended the Government for the Intwasa/ Pfumvudza concept which she said will go a long way in alleviating poverty in rural areas.


“I was a beggar, people used to despise me because I had nothing for myself. I used to have a very difficult life because of this programme,” said Ms Mpofu.

She was motivated to do this type of farming because her husband, who died in 2017, preferred tilling his other two wife’s fields before attending to hers.

“I would sleep on an empty stomach. My husband would till my land at the end after attending to his other two wives’ fields. So, I would then plough late and my crops were affected by too much rain or lack of it,” said Ms Mpofu.

In 2013, she said she won the first prize in a competition that was sponsored by Welthungerhilfe and got a cow.

“From 2013 up to 2021 I was winning cows, goats, a wheelbarrow and a plough through this type of farming,” said Ms Mpofu.

Now she has eight cattle and 12 goats.


She said when her husband died she continued doing conservation farming.

“In 2019 I managed to construct a fowl run and started to raise 100 chickens using the money I got from this type of farming. In 2020 after four weeks, I would put in a new batch of chicks and I also made more money from selling the chickens,” said Ms Mpofu.

She said last year, she managed to draw piped water to her homestead from a pipeline that was going to a nutrition garden close to her homestead.

“I used to walk over a kilometre to fetch water but now I have water at my homestead. All this is a clear indication that the Pfumvudza/Intwasa concept works and the Second Republic did well by embracing it and supporting it through the provision of farming inputs to the farmers,” said Ms Mpofu.

Gokwe South District agriculture extension officer Mr Simon Gumindoga said Ms Mpofu is one of the Pfumvudza/Intwasa success stories in the district.

“Well, for those willing to dig the holes, this programme works because the yields are high meaning there are high returns. In this district, Pfumvudza/ Intwasa preparation is going on very well with farmers busy potholing while some have started putting the seed in the soil,” he said.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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