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Dry spell worries Bulawayo urban farmers

by Staff reporter
23 Feb 2022 at 05:42hrs | Views
BULAWAYO urban farmers are worried about the prolonged dry spell as the province has gone for more than two weeks without rains.

In the last season, most urban farmers had a bumper harvest as the country received normal to above normal rains.

The seasonal forecast issued by the 25th Southern African Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF 25) last year pointed to a likelihood of normal to above normal rainfall in the 2021/2022 cropping season.

The projection was that Zimbabwe is in the area likely to receive normal to above normal rains in both the first and second halves of the season, which normally runs from October to March.

However, Bulawayo and other provinces have not received rains for more than two weeks now hence the farmers' panic.

Mr Leonard Dube of Entumbane said if the city does not receive rains this week, they are doomed.

"We were very optimistic about this year's harvest but we are now very worried by this prolonged dry spell. If it does not rain this week, most crops will be a complete write off. We had applied fertiliser and that fertiliser has worsened the situation," he said.

Farmers said most crops urgently need rains and they hope it will rain this week.

Mr Thembalami Tshuma of Emakhandeni suburb who has a field in Richmond suburb said they are praying for rains.

"Most crops are suffering moisture stress and we urgently need the rains if we are to realise a good harvest," he said.
Mrs Makatendeka Zhou of Luveve said she now feared recording poor harvest this season unless it rains soon.

"The prolonged dry spell is beginning to affect the crops and we hope the situation will change for the better soon. We had worked hard this season after recording good harvest last season and everything might go down the drain unless it rains soon," she said.

The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) head of forecasting Mr James Ngoma said the dry spell is affecting many parts of the country. He said February and March are governed by cloud bands that come and go leading to the situation becoming a bit dry at times.

"Rains that began in Bulawayo in October, November and part of December are due to cloud bands that came from Botswana in the west. So February and March are governed by these cloud bands that come and go, " said Mr Ngoma.

The MSD however said in a statement that the rains are expected in Matabeleland region this week.

"Isolated thunderstorms are expected tomorrow (yesterday) in most parts of the country including Bulawayo, Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North," it said.

Source - The Chronicle