Farmer and advocate, Zimbabwe
Ruramiso Helps Women Beat Weeds
Ruramiso Mashumba farms in eastern Zimbabwe. She grows maize, whole brown rice, sorghum, millet and gumtrees. She also grows peas for export and breeds cattle.
Weeds are one of the biggest problems for farmers in the region, says Ruramiso. Traditionally women remove weeds from their farms with a handheld hoe. It’s a backbreaking job, and it’s nearly impossible for farmers to keep up with the weeds, so Ruramiso suggests a more sustainable Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach.
She trains women to use ground cover like mulch to suppress weeds and crop rotation to prevent weed build-up.
Likewise, to prevent insects she advises farmers to monitor the problem closely and to take preventive measures such as planting wild flowers in field margins to attract beneficial insects. If the pest burden starts to seriously impact yield, Ruramiso advises farmers to use crop protection products.
“We take care of the pests we need to take care of, but we don’t just randomly spray chemicals.”
Ruramiso says access to pest-resistant, herbicide-resistant and drought-resistant biotechnology would be another valuable tool in the toolbox to fight weeds and pests.
Ruramiso is the National Youth Chairperson for the Zimbabwe Farmers Union, and she has been recognized for her work in leading women toward mechanized farming in Africa. She also serves on numerous agricultural boards.