Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
The recent rains have brought relief to farmers, with parts of Mashonaland provinces expected to get some yields, although some districts in those areas had their maize declared a write-off, farmers unions have said.
Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union director Mr Paul Zakariya said last Friday that the recent rains would not only benefit some crops, but would revive pastures and water supplies for livestock.
“In Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West, maize is in three stages and if the current rains continue, they will have a meaningful harvest,” he said.
“The first stage of maize is at tasselling stage, with the bulk of the crop at late vegetative, while the rest is at knee length and farmers are top-dressing.
“There are, however, some districts in Mashonaland East that are badly affected, especially Mudzi, Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe and Mbire where the crop is a complete write-off.”
Mr Zakariya said in southern parts of Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South, the maize crop was a write-off.
“Only those who grew small grains can harvest something if the current rains continue,” he said.
Mr Zakariya discouraged farmers from continuing to plant maize and said the season was already gone.
He expressed gratitude to Government for releasing funds for cloud seeding and said this should not only be done during a drought year.
“Hope this should be done every year to aid rainfall,” said Mr Zakariya. “We should move away from relying on rain-fed agriculture and switch to irrigation. We should invest a lot in irrigation and water harvesting.”
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said farmers were grateful to Government for funding cloud seeding.
“Cloud seeding started on January 11 and is continuing depending with the availability of the clouds,” he said. “The situation could have been better if the operation was conducted much earlier.
“Because of the recent rains, most crops in different areas, especially Mashonaland, are in good condition although farmers planted late, if the heat units remain and cloud seeding is carried out, we may realise good yields.”