Sydney Mubaiwa in Zaka
Communal farmers here have been urged to set up community crop rescue teams to combat the larger grain borer, which is threatening to cause serious post-harvest losses across Zaka.
Farmers in Zaka are bracing for a bumper harvest of grains such as maize and sorghum, following a successful farming season backed by inputs support from Command Agriculture and the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme.
Addressing hundreds of farmers at a Field Day in Jerera last week, Masvingo Provincial Crops and Livestock officer Mr Peter Chamisa said farmers could only win the battle against plant pests and diseases if they manage to identify them early.
He said the reduction of post-harvest losses was critical in ensuring future global food security.
“Farmers can go on mountain tops to claim the season was productive after recording good harvests, but there are genuine fears that their achievements can come to naught if they do not engage in proper post-harvest strategies.
“This farming season, we urge farmers to be on the lookout for the devastating larger grain borer which poses a real a threat to our harvests,” said Mr Chamisa.
He urged communal farmers to work closely with field extension officers in the fight against crop pests and diseases. Mr Chamisa said Government, through the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, has availed chemicals to farmers in order to contain the pests.
“For us to win the battle, we need to detect the larger grain borer early. Farmers also need to form community crop rescue teams to guard against the spread of pests and diseases during the post-harvest period,” he said.
Addressing farmers at the same event, Pannar Seeds national agronomist Mr Ngoni Rufu warned farmers against buying pesticides from bogus dealers as this militated the fight against pests and diseases.