Blessing Rwizi Mutare Correspondent
FARMERS should extend their planting activities to mid-January as rainfall patterns are continuously changing and getting more unpredictable, former Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made said recently.
Dr Made said there was a likelihood of receiving a lot of rain this farming season. He said farmers should not lose hope after missing their traditional planting dates, but must extend the planting period to January, as the rainy season continues.
“All farmers should not lose hope since our planting time is not yet over. I am appealing to you farmers to extend the planting period from this December to January.
“We should continue planting as we do not know what will happen since it is said that we will have a lot of rain this season. The season might not change. It is better to have maize that would have been planted late than not to having it at all. We should continue planting up until January 14. You are not yet late in planting,” he said.
Dr Made also said the ministry would assist farmers who were experiencing problems in accessing inputs especially under the Command Agriculture Programme.
“The ministry has heard of the problems that are being faced by some farmers. There are farmers who are failing to access inputs especially fertilisers under the Command Agriculture programme even though some have already secured theirs,” he commended.
Dr Made’s sentiments come at a time when some farmers in Manicaland are complaining over some policies, which they say were making it difficult for them to improve productivity.
The farmers challenged the Government to relax policies that govern trade in areas such as the horticulture industry and the selling of beef, which require them to satisfy a number of regulations, some of which also require them to pay for services, rendering their businesses unprofitable.