Tawanda Mangoma in Chiredzi
Government has urged farmers to stop wasting their inputs by replanting whenever their areas receive rains, as most crops continue to wilt due to moisture stress.
This comes as Government distributed free farming inputs to cotton and maize farmers across the country this season, with the goal to revive the agriculture industry.
In an interview on Wednesday, Deputy Minister for Agriculture responsible for crops Cde Davis Marapira said some farmers were still planting hoping that they might record a good harvest.
He said farmers should be more focused and preserve the inputs which Government distributed for use next season.
“As Government, we are now urging farmers to stop wasting inputs by repeatedly planting,” he said. “From my observation, some farmers are still working on their fields and they are not even counting the loss of the inputs, time and labour which they continue to deploy on their pieces of land, while the results coming are not favourable.”
Deputy Minister Marapira said the inputs which Government distributed if stored properly could be put to good use next season.
“We distributed inputs worth millions of dollars,” he said. “It is noble for the inputs beneficiaries to follow weather focasts and make informed decisions than just continue replanting for the sake of it.
“A good farmer makes informed decisions. You should not continue wasting your inputs by continuing to plant in a season which drought has already been declared. You just need to keep them (inputs) under proper storage facilities and use them next season since this the El Nino phenomenon (which caused drought) will go. We never heard of fertilizers expiring, even the cotton and maize seeds, they are treated so as to last longer.”
Zimbabwe Farmers Union Masvingo provincial manager Mr Jonathan Chimwanda said some farmers were still stuck in unproductive farming methods.
“Some of our farmers are still practicing traditional farming methods in which whenever rains come they want to replant the field with the goal to have a good harvest,” he said. “This is old fashioned. Farmers must first have the outlook of the climate and then plan properly. We are in an era of climate change and it requires a cautious approach.”
Zimbabwe and the whole of Southern Africa were this year hit by a drought caused by the El Nino phenomenon which left most countries in the region importing food.