Sustainable Agriculture Technology

These demonstrations are widespread throughout different locations and ecological climate zones within the project areas. Demonstrations focus on highlighting the best agricultural practices for increasing yields including time of planting, spacing, weeding practices, fertilizer levels and mulches. They also show and compare different crops suitable for the respective areas. In addition a number of trials have been conducted focusing on tillage (comparing conservation agriculture (CA) and conventional tillage) and different available varieties. Within these trials there has been a maize variety demonstration where different maize hybrids have been showcased to the farmers.

The selection of demonstration and farmers is of major importance with the main emphasis on visibility including being located within the project areas at easily accessible sites (e.g. along roads), but also in a farmer’s field, to see crop performance under field conditions. The sites are mainly used as a training tool where farmers carry out all the management operations with support and supervision from a SAT staff member, which they then can replicate in their respective fields. Through this a large number farmers are working and visiting the demonstration sites on a regular basis and are able to observe crop performances. 

The objectives of the trials, demos and field testing is

  • field testing of improved maize varieties
  • introduction and familiarisation to farmers of the new varieties
  • testing of performance in field conditions
  • testing market and marketing potential 
  • testing and introduction of improved management systems 
  • refinement of thresholds of growing season temperature and soil moisture availability to identify hot spots of vulnerability for DTM maize

10 low rainfall, high temperatures wards have been identified in; Bikita, Chiredzi, Chivi, Gokwe North, Gokwe South, Gutu, Masvingo and Zaka Districts (Zimbabwe agro ecological zones IV). Within each ward a demonstration of 10 varieties identified from previous studies by both SAT and CIMMYT has been sown. Five farmers per ward were chosen to grow two varieties each under their own management practices. Demonstrations are being run alongside SAT demonstrations and will allow farmers to see the performance of new DTMA varieties under different management conditions currently used by farmers.