Muchaneta Chimuka Senior Reporter

A private company, Syngenta recently donated 4000 Covid-19 compliant masks to Agritex in support of the Pfumvunza agricultural programme.

The donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) will be used by the agricultural extension officers in spearheading the Pfumvudza programme in most farming areas in the country.

Speaking during the handover of the PPEs, Syngenta Marketing Manager Mr Tawanda Mangisi, said Pfumvudza is meant to unsure climate smart agriculture and also improve the lives of communal households.

“The PPEs will be used by extension officers spearheading Pfumvudza programme. As Syngenta we have availed seed to the Presidential Input Scheme through our seed distributor Intaba. We have offered our new drought tolerant hybrid SY5944 and we believe it will enable the yields to be even higher with the Pfumvudza concept,” he said.

He added that extension workers are part of front line workers hence they need support and protection.

“We are coming in as a partner in this time of crisis and buoyed by the belief that all our initiatives rest on the shoulders of the extension workers, who are in actual fact front line workers. We have therefore donated these 4 000 masks to the ministry, to Agritex department for the extension workers scattered across the country. These are our heroes because they are the bedrock of the success of the Pfumvudza project,” he said.

Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Secretary Dr John Basera said that preparations for this year’s summer season were on course and that both farmers and their extension officers need to worry about Covid-19.

“Face mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing are important to save the lives of our farmers and the community at large. Agriculture plays a pivotal role in supporting our economy,” he said.

He revealed that the Presidential Inputs Scheme will this year prioritise farmers who would have adopted the Pfumvudza concept.

Pfumvudza is the right foot forward in ensuring food self-sufficiency and building the national strategic grain reserves as the excess from this initiative will be sold commercially by the farmers.

So far, 715 000 farmers have been trained. Availing face masks to their extension workers will help mitigate the effects of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe.