The government of Zimbabwe through the Department of Research and Specialist Services, DR & SS has in partnership with the SADC Trade Related Frontier, TRF and the European Union embarked on a farmer training programme focusing on Good Agriculture Practices which include Integrated Pest Management and Judicious of Safe Use of Pesticides.
The programme started in Mashonaland West and Midlands for farmers to learn how to produce for export and reduce the use of pesticides and ensure the health of consumers and farm workers alike.
Awareness programmes are expected to be running in all provinces to reach out a wider number of farmers in horticulture.
Speaking to the AgriSeason at the four day training workshop at Lingfield farm in Gweru, the DR&SS, Deputy Director, for Research, Dr. Godfrey Chikwenhere, said that the EU funded SADC TRF programme is a SADC initiative for SADC member states to help them implement the commitments they made under the SADC protocol on Trade and the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement.
The project is also intended for strengthening National Quality Infrastructure in Zimbabwe to improve compliance within the TBT and SPS requirements for cross-border trade, covering horticulture,; honey production, veterinary production among many other products.
GLOBALG.A.P. products and services are designed to bring farmers and retailers together to produce safe and sustainable products for consumers around the world. The Certification is meant to reduce costs for growers and maintain transparency throughout the supply chain for buyers.
To ensure smooth certification, farmers are expected to work with their extension services, (AGRITEX), the DR&SS, Zimtrade, Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Commerce.
Research Services Division of the Department of Research and Specialist Services, is meant to protect Zimbabwe’s agriculture through provision of a dependable, effective, efficient and competitive regulatory service that promotes cooperation among agro-industries, farmers,government and other relevant stakeholders and assures the nation of quality agricultural inputs and products for sustainable agricultural and economic growth.
its major functions are to carry out seed and crop pest assessments for national early warning purposes; provide sanitary and phytosanitary services on plant imports & exports
Provide testing and advisory services on animal feeds, agricultural chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides), seeds and crop management technologies; provide regulatory advisory services on seeds, crop production (residue destruction dates), registration and management of plant nurseries, agricultural chemicals and fertilizers and disseminate new technologies and relevant agricultural information generated from research.
Welcoming the workshop delegates, Lingfield farm owner, Mr. Staben Karimazondo, said that he pursued the certification process as he had grown tired of getting ripped off by middlemen and agents who got much more than him for his sweat.
By Francis Bingandadi Managing Editor AgriSeason