Met Department to buy cloud seeding aircraft

Dr Makarau

Dr Makarau

Conrad Mwanawashe Business Reporter
THE Meteorological Department is mobilising funds to purchase a second aircraft for cloud seeding as Government intensifies measures to mitigate the effects of the climate change in light of below normal rainfall forecast for the 2015 /2016 cropping season.

In a seasonal climate outlook, the Meteorological Department yesterday said there is need to enhance rainfall this season through intensifying the national cloud seeding programme in light of the below normal rainfall expected.

Meteorological Department director Dr Amos Makarau said the more aircrafts the department has the more effective cloud seeding programmes progress.

According to the Meteorological Department programme cloud seeding should commence as early as mid-November so that rainfall could be available early for planting.

“We are working with the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development on the funding,” said Dr Makarau.

“We want to take advantage of any rain-bearing cloud so that we squeeze the most out of it and the sooner we do it the better.

“One aircraft can only cover a small area whereas if we have two we can the whole country. So that is why we are requesting for two aircrafts,” he said.

The Met Department said there is a high likelihood of a late start to the season for the whole country.

“A short rainfall season (December to February) is expected across the country hence an option for small grains, short season variety and staggering plants would be encouraged,” the Department said.

Farmers who have access to dams with water should complement their farming with irrigation, the department said.

Those with livestock, water points should be preserved and protected and livestock destocking should be given more consideration and done timeously to avoid losses.

It is still possible to harvest grass for fodder in those areas where forest fires have not been lit.

In the 10-point-plan presented last week, President Mugabe said revitalizing agriculture is a key priority to ensure food security and economic development.

Dr Makarau said the Met Department will also be issuing 10-day forecasts to advise people the appropriate times of planting or weeding or putting fertilizers because many times people put fertiliser without accurate information on the availability of heavens.

“We are going to working very closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development to raise awareness and issuing forecasts more regularly,” said Dr Makarau.

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