|Years active||1960s to Date|
|Organization||Foundations for Farming|
|Known for||Being the man behind the Pfumvudza/Intwasa Farming Concept in Zimbabwe|
|Notable work||The founder of Foundations for Farming which deals with conservative farming.|
Brian Oldreive is a Zimbabwean farmer who is the founder of the Foundations for Farming organisation which is committed to implementing the best farming practices.
He was born in Zimbabwe in 1943 and he is married to Cath and the couple has five children, and his wife and children were all born in Zimbabwe. For 20 years, during the 1960s and 1970s, he practised farming in the Karoi and Tengwe areas, mainly venturing in tobacco farming. But in November 1978 he became a born-again Christian. Shortly after that, he had an encounter with God, who convinced him that tobacco was not for him. He was of the view that tobacco was poisoning people, so he stopped farming tobacco to focus on food crops.
He started farming in the 1960s where he was into tobacco farming but later changed his focus to food crops after 1978. When he turned to maize farming, he started to ponder on the best concepts that he could work on. He realised that in those days, most people preferred deep ploughing. But this method was not bringing desired results, as it caused tremendous soil loss and droughts became severe because water was running off. So the yields were poor. That was around 1982.
The origin of the name Pfumvudza
The name Pfumvudza was suggested by his friend, Berin Stockhill. On a certain day in about 2007, he saw him with a hoe above his head teaching people that they can be the best farmers in the world with a hoe, and that no modern machinery can achieve the precision as one can with a hoe.
He was impressed. Berin noticed that one family needs one bucket of maize to feed a family for one week. He worked out that 58 x 300 gramme cobs would fill a bucket of maize.
So they calculated the cost and realised that from an area which is just one-sixteenth of a hectare, one just needs US$50 for inputs and they can grow enough food for their family for the whole year.
The Pfumvudza/Intwasa Farming Concept is about making the most out of a small piece of land. A standard Pfumvudza plot measures 39 metres by 16 metres, which is one sixteenth of a hectare.
How his Pfumvudza concept was accepted by the Zimbabwe Government
He shared this concept with the late former Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Air Chief Marshal (Rtd) Perrance Shiri and he was impressed. The Permanent Secretary, Dr John Basera, then called them into his office. Dr Basera visited some of the farmers who were implementing the concept successfully in Domboshava. The Minister and Dr Basera were so excited that they took it to Cabinet, which gave the go-ahead to implement it as a national policy. When he succeeded Minister Shiri, the current Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, embraced the concept wholeheartedly. This is why the Pfumvudza training programme targeted two million households for the 2020/21 season. Each family would have two Pfumvudza plots — one to feed the family and another to feed the whole nation.
- Kuda Bwititi, , The Sunday Mail, Published: 10 January, 2021, Accessed: 12 January, 2021