Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The crop and livestock situation in Matabeleland South province remains critical with little or no improvements recorded in terms of pastures and in some cases, the farmers have failed to plant.
The provincial agricultural extension services officer, Ms Simangaliphi Ngwabi said rains have remained erratic with some areas virtually getting nothing.
Ms Ngwabi said they will soon conduct a crop and livestock assessment exercise in the province that will inform the way forward among other interventions.
“We have missed planting targets for major crops including maize where we have planted a total of 12 727 hectares against a projected 120 000hactres,” said Ms Ngwabi.
“For sorghum, we have only managed 4615 hectares yet we had set a target of 35 000 hectares, millet we have 4777 hectares against a target of 40 000 hectares, finger millet only 663 hectares against 50 000 hectares.
“Additionally we missed targets on groundnuts where we have 3000 hectares planted versus 20 000 hectares, cowpeas, 1950 planted against a target of 20 000 hectares and for bambara nuts, we planted 2210 hectares against a projected 15 000hactres,” said Ms Ngwabi.
Ms Ngwabi encouraged farmers in the area to consider planting small grains which may do well under current rainfall patterns.
In terms of livestock, she said the province had lost a cumulative 16 853 beats, with Beitbridge district recording the highest loss of 4 413 beats followed by Matobo which lost 2993 cattle.
Ms Ngwabi said Bulilima, Gwanda, Insiza, Mangwe and Umzingwane districts had lost 2697, 2569, 2357, 1434 and 390 cattle respectively.