Heavy rains expected to continue

Elita Chikwati

Agriculture Reporter

Zimbabwe can expect another wet weekend with heavy downpours, particularly to the north of the watershed, the Meteorological Services Department advised yesterday.

Farmers were advised to harvest the water to boost irrigation activities during the winter cropping season.

According to Met Department senior forecaster Mr James Ngoma, there will be continuous rains in most parts of the country over the weekend. “Localised heavy downpours are expected especially in areas to the north of the watershed because of a passing cloud band emanating from Botswana that was giving significant falls over the southern parts of the country as of Thursday into Friday.

“The country is still expecting localised heavy downpours covering Matabeleland North into northern parts of Midlands, northern parts of Masvingo, Harare Metropolitan, most of Mashonaland provinces and parts of Manicaland.

“We advise the public that it is safer to be indoors during these downpours,” he said. He urged the public not to use roads during the downpours or cross any rivers or streams in flood.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Dr Shadreck Makombe said the heavy rains were of great use in the future especially during the winter cropping season. “We are encouraging farmers to make trenches, ridges and contours and direct the water to the fields. This will save costs of irrigation during the winter cropping season.

“Those farmers who had not planted on their fields should plough to retain the moisture.

“Winter ploughing will also retain moisture for use during the summer cropping season,” he said.

Zimbabwe National Farmers Union vice president Mr Edward Dune said dam levels had risen and most reservoirs were now spilling.

“This is encouraging. It’s now time for farmers to upscale water harvesting techniques with the involvement of experts to avoid unnecessary losses.”

There were opportunities between summer and winter that were rarely taken up yet winter production could be boosted provided farmers took advantage of the moisture built up in the soil, the good conditions of draught power and the stable macro-economic environment.

Significantly high rainfall continues to fall throughout the country with most areas already surpassing 300mm.

Traditionally January, February and March experience higher rainfall than the first part of the season from October to December.

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