MANICALAND Province has the capacity to produce more food than any other province in the event that the El Nino phenomenon forecast by the Meteorological Services Department hits the country.
Manicaland provincial crop and livestock officer Mrs Philippa Rwambiwa said this in an interview with The Herald on Wednesday.
She said the province had the capacity to contribute more to food security than any other province in the event of low rainfall patterns.
“Manicaland has all the five agro-ecological regions of the country, so we expect farmers in Region 1 to produce more food to sustain the province,” said Mrs Rwambiwa. “However, this can only happen if they are properly funded.”
Mrs Rwambiwa urged farmers to join the Command Agriculture programme to ensure that they were able to produce sufficient food in the forthcoming season.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers ‘Union (ZCFU) president Mr Wonder Chabikwa encouraged farmers in the province to monitor crops and livestock for early detection of threats posed by the weather conditions.
“Farmers need to prepare so that as a nation we survive this challenge by looking for assistance from experts that are ready to help so that both the farmers and the nation benefit in the process,” he said.
“Such farmers’ associations are not new. We have always had such groupings, which meet occasionally to discuss issues affecting farmers and come up with sustainable solutions. These associations had all but collapsed, but we now need to revive them.”
Mr Chabikwa urged farmers to start repairing and installing irrigation equipment to tap into underground water sources to maximise production.
“There is need for the nation to focus on repairing and installation of irrigation infrastructure wherever water is available both on the surface and underground,” he said. “We also expect Government to assist farmers by availing irrigation loans at low rates.”
The 2018-19 rainfall forecast presented at the National Climate Outlook Forum last week revealed that the season would be negatively affected by El Nino phenomenon and advised farmers to plan sufficiently and make informed decisions.