MSD urges farmers to continue planting

Wonder Chabikwa

Wonder Chabikwa

Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
Crop condition in most parts of the country is good and current isolated rains are expected to continue in some areas until Sunday. The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) said isolated rainfall was expected in Mashonaland provinces, Matabeleland North and the northern areas of Manicaland until January 3.

The weather is also expected to be hot and humid.

According to the MSD, the rest of the country should continue to be dry and hot.

Farmers in most areas are taking advantage of the available moisture to continue planting, weeding and fertiliser application.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Mr Wonder Chabikwa, urged farmers to continue planting.

“The season was late and farmers should continue planting to ensure food security. We have a small area, which is under established cropping so farmers should plant especially maize and cotton.

“Farmers should concentrate on short season varieties and small grains that can perform better under low rainfall conditions,” he said.

Mr Chabikwa said livestock in Masvingo, Matabeleland South and Manicaland was still in bad condition due to the unavailability of grazing.

Government has advised livestock farmers in the drought stricken areas to consider de-stocking to raise money to support the remaining herd.

“Farmers should also organise supplementary feeding for the livestock in the affected areas,” he said.

Mr Chabikwa said some tobacco farmers had started reaping the irrigated crop.

“The bulk of the irrigated crop is in good condition but some farmers with a dryland crop are complaining of power shortages.

“It is best that farmers irrigate during the evening when the electricity is available. Night irrigation has an advantage in that there is no evaporation.

“We urge tobacco growers to include coal on their inputs cost than rely on firewood on curing their crop. Continuous cutting down of trees will worsen the future and contributes towards climate change.”

Meanwhile, the MSD said residual moisture coupled with high daytime temperatures resulted in scattered thunderstorms in Matabeleland North Province, northern areas of Midlands Province, all Mashonaland Provinces, Harare and Manicaland Province since last week.

On the other hand, Masvingo Province, Matabeleland South Province and south of Midlands had dry and hot weather affecting them during the period.

Some of the areas that received rains include Mt Darwin, Chinhoyi, Mutoko, Guruve and Mhondoro.

Notable rainfall was recorded in Manicaland. Nyanga recorded 13 mm on December 25, Chisengu 30 mm on December 26 and 28 mm on December 27, Mukandi 23 mm on December 26 and 14mm on December 27 while Mutare received 23mm on December 25 and 12mm on December 27.

Normal to below normal rainfall is expected throughout the 2015/16 season.

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