Grant money from the Yambasu Agriculture Initiative is helping The United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe support local farmers.
Morgan Jeranyama, Yambasu Agriculture Initiative national project consultant in Zimbabwe, said in rural areas, field days are being held as an agricultural extension service tool.
“A field day is a tour-and-learn event where the best farmers showcase how they managed to excel. Many service providers will market their products and technical support will be shared.”
He said the church has been supporting field days with prizes and food for the farmers who win.
“This has motivated many farmers to do better in the future,” Jeranyama said.
Douglas Dzikamai Makuvire, Murewa District agriculture extension officer, oversees the field days.
“The coming in of (The United Methodist Church) has enhanced spiritual growth with emphasis on working hard to feed the nation.”
He said they hold the farmer field days annually at different levels, but the main challenge had been providing a token of appreciation to the farmers.
“We thank the UMC for intervening. They donated all the prizes … and have provided food for farmers and transportation for government staff. This motivated farmers already in the program and attracted new participants in the promotion of household food security,” Makuvire said.
“When farmers have enough food, the crime rate will be reduced,” he added.
Gertrude Ndenge, the livestock specialist under the Agriculture Department, said field days are an opportunity for farmers to learn and develop their skills.
“The intervention by the UMC is a motivating tool to the farmers. Every participant will be challenged to do better.
“Field days are necessary because service providers and technocrats will come to market their services at the farmers’ doorsteps. Farmers will be given the opportunity to ask and make informed decisions,” she said.
Livingstone Manyetu, 65, of Borneges Apostolic Faith Church, attended a recent field day. He and his wife, Edith, have 15 hectares of maize, one hectare of tobacco, 27 cattle, 87 pigs and five goats.
They were among the winners. “We are very happy and encouraged with the prizes donated by the UMC. We used to get a share of an ox-drawn plough for the best farmer, but now we got 150 kilograms of fertilizers,” he said.
“Next year we will defend our title,” he added. “Coming together as farmers is very beneficial because we share and learn a lot.”
Travy Kaseke, another farmer, said she always jots down notes for future reference.
“I want to improve my farming systems. My wish is for the next field day to be at my farm next year. I have been motivated,” she said.
Frederick Dzapasi, 81, a sesame crop producer, was the first runner-up.
“I am very happy with the church’s support to the farmers. For the church to flourish, they need members who are food secure. If they are food secure, they will be able to support the church,” he said.
“My wife, Juliet, is a member of the UMC at Zaranyika Circuit and she often remits her tithe from farming activities and I am happy with that.”
Return to main story Yambasu grant helps mission farms flourish
Chingwe is a communicator for the Zimbabwe East Conference.
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