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Farmers expect decent harvest

by Staff reporter
16 Jan 2024 at 04:39hrs | Views
FARMERS are now expecting to get a decent harvest following the weakening of the El Nino phenomenon which was expected to cause severe drought in most parts of Southern Africa including Zimbabwe.

Recent rains across the country have seen a great improvement in the crops and livestock.

Because of late rains farmers have planted 2,4 million hectares of crops compared to 2,6 million ha planted last season.

Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Professor Obert Jiri said so far 70 000ha of crops is under irrigation adding that the crops are looking good.

"In total we envisaged that we will have over 70 000ha under irrigation. While we are tailing off collection of data we know that over 70 000ha will be under irrigation between maize and some traditional grains. We also have further hectarage that will be put under soya bean by the contractors to take that to almost 100 000ha of irrigable land in the summer season.

"Most of the irrigated crop is planted in October so it's looking very good, we expect the maize crop to be physiologically mature by end of February. The target for our summer maize, we are targeting 1,9 million ha to be put under maize and we have done around 1,4 million ha under maize," he said.

This season the Meteorological Department forecast a normal to below normal rain season and farmers were being urged to prioritise early maturity varieties.

The coming in of the ARDA inputs scheme had also seen most farmers across the province's districts increase their hectarage.

Farmers have indicated that although the season started late there is a possibility of attaining better results due to the wet spell.

Hurungwe farmer Mr Tellme Mandiwoma told The Herald that while most farmers had been sceptical, the recent rains have revived hopes. "The rains have increased our hope as most farmers here have since started planting. Those that planted last week have seen good germination of their crops," he said.

Mr Takawira Munemo of Zvimba said the rains had changed the situation which was on the ground adding that livestock, crops and even humans now give a picture of hope.

"Before the rains, the situation was bad. Cattle could travel over 10 km to get water and the crops were in a dire situation because of the dry spell which was experienced across the country before Christmas holiday.

"We are sure that a good harvest is ahead of us although we cannot equate it to the last season," he said.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) president Dr Shadreck Makombe said the crop is promising, adding that the livestock is in good shape due to availability of pastures.

"Although we delayed planting because we did not receive rain on time, this means we are also going to have a reduced harvest, but it will be meaningful.

"Long varieties which need more time to mature produce higher yields but now due to delayed rainfall, the majority planted short season varieties".

Agriculturist and Tobacco Farmers Union Trust vice president Mr Edward Dune said provinces such as Mashonaland East, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West could get meaningful harvests.

Agriculture and Rural Development Advisory Services (ARDAS) Mashonaland West director Mrs Evelyn Ndoro recently confirmed that there was a great improvement in crops and livestock

Matabeleland South acting provincial agricultural director rural development services, Mr Mkhunjulelwa Ndlovu said crops across the province were in a fair condition.

He said livestock, especially cattle in resettlement areas where pastures were fair, were still in a good state.

The early planted crop had improved following rains that are continuously hitting the country.

Source - the herald
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