Platinum miner Zimplats has committed US$1 million to agricultural programmes within the Mhondoro-Ngezi community, the company has said.
The money will promote conservation farming, animal husbandry, poultry businesses vegetable gardens.
Speaking at the Zimplats Master Farmer field day in Ngezi yesterday, chief operating officer Mr Stanley Segula said their agriculture programme was a broad-based community development project centred on crop production and empowerment of farmers.
"The conservation farming project which has 150 beneficiaries was borne out of a realisation that every year tonnes of top soil are washed down rivers, carrying away expensive fertilisers and quality soil.
"Farmers on the programme are taught to curb soil erosion through methods such as reduced soil disturbance use of mulch and accurate application of fertilisers," he said.
Farmers get seed, fertilisers and herbicides from Zimplats and repay after harvesting.
They can pay for the inputs through grain.
The winning farmer, Mr Flavian Chicheko said conservation farming was beneficial.
"I have planted an acre of maize and am expecting three tonnes from the field.
"Through conservation farming, there is reduced wastage of fertilisers since they are placed only on plant stations," he said.
Mr Chicheko said he has been practising conservation farming for three years.
"It is labour intensive at first but now that there is tillage equipment such as the ripper tine, one can increase the area under conservation farming," he said.
The farmer said mulching helped moisture conservation and suppressed weeds.
Mr Chicheko won an ox-drawn cart, fertilisers and one hectare drip irrigation equipment, which was donated by the area's legislator, Cde Bright Matonga (Zanu-PF).
Other prize winners took home fertilisers, knapsack sprayers, herbicides and wheel barrows.
Mhondoro-Ngezi House of Assembly representative Cde Matonga encouraged farmers to stay up to speed with the latest farming innovations.
"Now we are speaking of conservation farming and farmers should make efforts to learn the new skills and techniques," he said.