Michael Magoronga Midlands Correspondent
Midlands Crop and Livestock Officer Mrs Medline Magwenzi has implored farmers in the province to plant early as preparations for the summer cropping season gather momentum.
This comes against the backdrop of an announcement of the 2019-20 rainfall forecast which is normal to below normal during the summer cropping season.
Mrs Magwenzi urged farmers to plant early.
“We have started cascading the information down to our farmers to say they should plant early so that they catch up with the rains. The forecast is saying that between December and January, rains will be normal, but they will be below normal from February onwards. We need more rain in December and January so that by time the rains will be below normal, crops will be at ripening stage and not much of rains will be required,” she said.
In terms of preparations, Mrs Magwenzi said her department had deliberately started early so that farmers can start planting early.
“Preparations are going on well. Currently we are in the process of contracting farmers and we are doing so early because we want them to start planting early to avoid any disappointments.
“We have contracted about 45 000 hectares with irrigation taking up to 35 000ha and dry land about 15 000 hectares,” she said.
Mrs Magwenzi said Midlands is expecting to start receiving inputs anytime from now.
“We have done all the necessary paperwork and we are expecting to receive fuel for tillage anytime from now.
“We are also expecting seed, compound D (fertiliser) and other inputs under Command Agriculture and Presidential Input Scheme so that we start preparations early,” she said.
She also urged farmers to start tilling land, but was quick to remind the farmers to check the state of their beasts first.
“To those who use cattle for tillage, we are aware that our cattle are not getting enough pasture and are not in the right shape. So let’s check whether our cattle are fit for use and till our land early. If not, let’s avoid using them and wait until they get fresh pasture, but to those who use tractors, the time to be tilling the land is now,” she said.