By Ndafadza Madanha
THE Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre (SIRDC) and South Korea Programme on International Agriculture (KOPIA) have recorded a number of achievements in technological transfers that have enhanced productivity among small holder farmers.
Both institutions entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that allowed scientists from the two countries to develop localized technology that small holder farmers can adapt.
Already the partnership has identified three projects in the country that have benefited from the synergies between SIRDC and KOPIA.
“When we develop the technologies we disseminate them to Small holder farmers to ensure they enhance production, improve livelihoods, capacity building, generate income so that they can sustain lives. We identify communities we can work with and currently we are working with three communities,” said executive PA to KOPIA Yamurai Magaya.
Among the projects undertaken by KOPIA include an indigenous chicken rearing project in the Wedza area which has benefited over 30 small holder farmers.
“We provided 25 chickens to each farmer, built them fowl runs and provided an single incubator for per every five farmers. The incubators are intended to ensure they adapt the latest technology and we have trained them on the latest rearing practices. Currently the chickens are multiplying and the farmers can now sell eggs and generate extra income”.
The collaboration between the two entities has also developed a disease free Irish seed potato that will be commercialized before year end.
Trials undertaken with over 20 farmers in the Goromonzi area have shown that the seed has potential to produce up to 40 tonnes per hectare.
Farmers have expressed dismay at the potato seed available on the market as it is contaminated and reduces yields.
Another project carried out by the entities has resulted in the reverse engineering of machinery to handle harvesting of small grains.
Locally people are hesitant to engage in the growing of small grains as the handling post harvest is difficult owing to absence of machinery.
However, this is now a thing of the past as the team has developed a thresher that can harvest a number of small grains.
“We imported a thresher in from South Korea but the local team reverse engineered it to meet our local standards.
Hopefully this will encourage farmers to grow small grains as the post harvest handling is now easier. Unfortunately uptake of the machine is still low as farmers are yet to grow small grains to levels that require the machinery so we still need to work on a viable business model”.
KOPIA is present in seven countries on the continent and 21 across the globe. ENDS