Crop situation improves after recent rains Prospects of a bumper harvest this season remain high in provinces where farmers usually experience little or no rainfall. 

Precious Manomano-Herald Reporter

THE crop situation in most parts of Zimbabwe continue improving after recent rains and while most crops are growing well, there have been patches of moisture stress in Mashonaland East and Central and some parts of Manicaland. 

Prospects of a bumper harvest this season remain high in provinces where farmers usually experience little or no rainfall. 

Tobacco Farmers Union Trust vice president Mr Edward Dune yesterday said most crops were generally responding positively but more rains were needed to ensure that the late planted crops reach maturity. 

“We have so far received normal rainfall but rains have been sporadic. Some areas receive excessive rainfall while other areas receive low amounts. So the condition of crops is fair to good overall. We need more rains to ensure maturity of our late crops. The early crops are so far good and very soon will be ready for harvesting,” he said. 

According to the update by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, the bulk of the maize crop is in the reproductive stage with all maize fair to good across all provinces. 

The bulk of the traditional grain crop is at the late vegetative to early reproductive stage. 

“Farmers took advantage of the January rains to plant pulses crops, cowpeas, edible beans, sweet potatoes and sunflower. Most of these crops are at the early to late vegetative stage,” said the Ministry. 

Zimbabwe National Farmers’’ Union vice president Mr Fidelis Gweshe said the crop situation was improving and pointed to a bumper harvest. 

He said moisture stress, which is currently seen in some parts of the country, is not serious adding that more rains are needed to ensure maturity of the late planted crops. 

“The recent rains had seen a great improvement in crops in most parts of the country although there are still some pockets that have not received enough rains. Tropical Storm Freddy also affected some crops in some parts of Masvingo,” Mr Gweshe said.

He said tobacco farmers also worked hard to maintain good leaf quality and urged farmers to continue working hand in hand with local extension officers to ensure a bumper harvest.

Heavy rains last month led to signs of yellowing and rotting of maize due to water logging in poorly drained areas, and there was some loss of nutrients through leaching, but overally the condition of the crop is good with a record harvest on the cards. 

Government has initiated public and private sector engagements to ensure its projections of a harvest of at least 3 million tonnes of maize for the present season from a target hectarage of 1 940 969ha. 

Government programmes such as the Pfumvudza/Intwasa, the National Enhanced Agriculture Productivity Scheme (NEAPS), the Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (ARDA), and interventions by the private sector, are set to enhance production of all crops this season, which ensures greater food production, oil seed and tobacco production. 

This not only raises the income of rural families as an ever larger percentage not only grow their own food, but have surpluses and cash crops for sale.

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