AGRO-SEED firm, Syngenta, is rolling out a nation-wide training programme aimed at equipping Agritex workers with expertise on modern smart agriculture practices to improve production and yields.

By Everson Mushava

The company, as part of its corporate social responsibility programme, is providing free training to Agritex officers on emerging trends on chemical handling and application as well as new, drought-tolerant seed varieties.

One of the country’s major producers and suppliers of crop seed, insecticides and herbicides, Syngenta recently launched a new insecticide used in seed treatment and is especially potent in fighting fall armyworm, which had been wreaking havoc on the farms for the past three years.
The tissue-eating pest is very difficult to control as it is highly resistant to other chemicals and, so far, the only most effective way of controlling it has been biological.

In an interview on the sidelines of one such workshop in Bindura on Tuesday, Syngenta training officer Moses Kudanga said the programme was meant to equip farmers with requisite knowledge on chemicals use and seed varieties.

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“The trainings that Syngenta organises with Agritex are for the purposes of equipping farmers with knowledge on the use of chemicals and seed varieties,” Kudanga said.

He said each extension worker would have to deal with between 200 and 300 farmers, who will then pass the information to other farmers.

Joe Mukanda, an agriculture training consultant working with Syngenta said the significance of the training workshop was that they would bring technology to the farmers through empowering Agritex officers who deal with farmers on a daily basis.

“We are trying to train farmers through extension workers so that we equip them with knowledge, because we have had problems where farmers buy products from suppliers they don’t know and they will come back to say they are not working,” Mukanda said.

Mashonaland Central provincial agronomist Jaidi Izah said: “As Agritex, our officers have been lacking. This in-house training which we always encourage and with the movement of technology, our farmers need to be equipped with advanced knowledge. So when we see our farmers receiving this sort of training, we know it is going to help them to have some agronomic knowledge.”