Wet spell brightens prospects of crops, livestock

THE early planted crop has improved following rains that are continuously hitting most parts of the country bringing renewed hope of decent harvests. 

Also, the livestock situation is improving as drinking water and grazing area is now available in most parts of the country. 

Due to a prolonged dry spell crops were deteriorating in most parts of the country and water sources had also dried. 

But now farmers are in high hopes, especially after the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) said heavy rains, accompanied by thunderstorms, were expected this week. 

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) president Dr Shadreck Makombe said the crop situation is improving and livestock is also peaking. 

“Crops are now growing better, there is renewed hope among farmers since we are receiving good rains in most parts of the country. Farmers are finalising their planting. We encourage them to plant short varieties during this time, what is needed is food security and farmers should not rely on one crop, they should diversify and also do horticulture production. Grass for grazing is also improving with these rains,’’he said. 

Dr Makombe said there is a probability of attaining good harvests with the latest rains. 

The recent rains had seen a great improvement on crops in most parts of the country especially in the Mashonaland provinces, Masvingo and some parts of the Midlands Province and Matabeleland provinces.  

However, there are still some pockets that have not received enough rains. 

Agriculturist and Tobacco Farmers Union Trust vice president Mr Edward Dune said there has been an improvement in the crop status with established crops now at different stages of vegetative growth. 

He said the crop is resuscitating from the heat wave that it suffered earlier. 

“Although we did not get enough rains on time we have hope that a decent harvest is possible considering the amounts of rains that we are now getting. The early planted crop is in good shape, no need to worry anymore but we hope we are going to receive these meaningful rains up to February so that we get a good harvest,” he said. 

Tobacco Farmers Union Trust (TFUT) president Mr Victor Mariranyika said the crop condition in Marondera and Rusape is also improving very well adding that planting of tobacco and maize is still in progress. 

“Small scale farmers are on the ground. The improving rains signify good hope. Farmers take advantage of the rains to continue planting. An increase in humidity promotes the development of diseases, as a result farmers are encouraged to scout the field regularly to ensure that pest problems are detected,” he said.

Matabeleland South Acting Director Agriculture and Rural Development Services Mr Mkhunjulelwa Ndlovu said the crop and livestock situation has significantly improved   adding that the emerging crop is also doing very well in Insiza North, Beitbridge ward 5, Beitbrige West. 

Water was the major challenge in the region and dam levels were very low thereby affecting irrigation. Recently livestock were dying due to lack of water and pastures in Bulilima, Mangwe, Matobo, Gwanda and Umzingwane. 

“The crop situation in the region is looking good because the rainfall has improved. The rains have raised hope for the farmers. Pastures for animals have also improved,” he said. 

Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development permanent secretary Professor Obert Jiri said farmers should utilise the recent rains. 

“For the early planted crop make sure you do proper fertiliser applications and weeding. The irrigation crop is also in good shape. Farmers should also take precautionary measures to avoid being struck by lightning by avoiding working in an open field, and move cattle to higher grounds in the events of flash floods,” he said. Prof Jiri said farmers should intensify dipping at this stage to avoid tick-borne diseases that manifest during this time of the season.


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