Smallholder farmers in Masvingo Province have been urged to embrace organic cropping, which is environment-friendly and also gives them access to global markets.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Development, Mr Ringson Chitsiko said that most people engaged in conventional farming because they were more concerned with the quantity of their produce rather than the quality of their products.
He was speaking at a handover ceremony of 15 irrigation schemes rehabilitated by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) at an event held at Stanmore B irrigation scheme in Masvingo district.
“Organic farming is more about the quality of the crop, which is very good for marketing.
“Most farmers choose and prefer conventional farming rather than organic farming because of quantity they produce, even though it is harmful to the environment,” said Mr Chitsiko.
He said Government was promoting organic farming through the establishment of low input gardens, mostly found in rural communities.
“Government is going to support organic farming in Zimbabwe through mobilising farmers in rural areas and training them about the importance of organic farming to the environment.
“Organic produce draws more global markets compared to conventional produce because the crops that grow naturally are more expensive since they have fewer chemicals.
There is what we call small-holder gardens or low input gardens by community farmers,” he said.
Mr Chitsiko said that the proposed type of farming (organic) was very reliable since farmers could reduce production costs and that there was no need to buy expensive chemicals and fertilisers. He said idea was to save energy and protect the environment.
In general terms, organic farming is an agricultural system that uses ecologically based pest controls and biological fertilisers derived largely from animal and plant wastes and nitrogen-fixing cover crops.
It is also understood that modern organic farming was developed as a response to the environmental harm caused by the use of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilisers in conventional agriculture and it has numerous ecological advantages.
Sydney Mubaiwa Correspondent: Herald