Nesia Mhaka Herald Reporter
The Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union (ZFU) has urged farmers to stagger planting dates in order to increase their chances of achieving meaningful yields as weather experts have predicted normal to below normal rainfall this season.
ZFU director Mr Paul Zakariya yesterday said farmers should also consider growing short season rather than long maturing varieties.
“A shorter maturity variety not only matures quicker, but also requires less rainfall to reach maturity compared to long-season varieties. Long season varieties are only recommended for those farmers with irrigation facilities,” said Mr Zakariya.
He implored farmers, especially those in marginal areas, to diversify their crops to include drought- tolerant small grains like sorghum and millet, adding that these can withstand drought conditions better and would usually yield something in the face of drought conditions.
Mr Zakariya bemoaned that farmers did not acquire enough inputs this year, compared to previous seasons, due to the increase in prices.
“Stocks are there but there is no demand. Prices are out of reach of most farmers. The fluctuations of exchange rates in the market have exacerbated the challenges faced by farmers,” he said.
Mr Zakariya also said farmers were facing challenges in accessing loans from banks since the banks were charging high interest rates.