Elita Chikwati and Mary Muradzikwa
Farmers have started preparing for the 2018-19 summer cropping season, with inputs distribution in full swing, and some already carrying out land preparations.
Tobacco farmers have also started registering for the next season, with 88 224 growers having registered to grow the crop so far.
Some farmers have received inputs under the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme, while others who are beneficiaries of Command Agriculture have since registered for the programme with others having started receiving fuel for land preparations.
Some farmers told The Herald that they were going to have late preparations as they had a late summer crop last season, which was yet to be harvested.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Mr Wonder Chabikwa, yesterday said some farmers had started preparations, while others were yet to start harvesting their summer crop.
“Last season we had a challenge of late crops, so we will also have a delayed harvest,” he said. “For farmers who are contracted under Command Agriculture, preparations have started.
“These farmers are currently registering for the programme. Some farmers are still mobilising inputs, while those under Command Agriculture have started receiving fuel for land preparations.”
Mr Chabikwa said most farmers were not going to carry out the normal land preparations, but will go for zero tillage, which is faster.
He said farmers were facing challenges with repairing and maintaining their machinery.
“Preparations for those under Command Agriculture have started early unlike other past seasons,” said Mr Chabikwa. “This year preparations started in July and we hope Government will continue to issue inputs early.”
According to the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board, 88 224 growers have registered as tobacco growers for the 2018/19 season, with seed sales standing at 671 125 grammes equivalent to cover 111 854 hectares of the crop.
Seed Co Zimbabwe agronomy and extension services manager, Mr John Basera, yesterday urged farmers to prepare early as this had an impact on the quality and quantity of the crop.
“Farmers should get assistance from Agritex officers on how they can best conduct soil sampling,” he said. “Soil sampling will help the farmer get the true representation of his field and the clay content of the soil.”