Zimbabwe: Farmers Urged to Speed Up Planting of Summer Crops

More than 74 000 hectares have so far been put under summer crops, with experts advising farmers to speed up planting to ensure a bumper harvest in all crops.

Farmers have also been advised to spread their cropping to include maize, cotton, traditional grains and tobacco plus late season crops such as cowpeas, sugar beans and sunflower.

In its weekly update, the Agricultural and Rural Development Advisory Services, Agritex, indicated that farmers have planted 13 907ha of maize, 270ha of sorghum, 147ha of pearl millet, 29 805ha of tobacco and 29 787ha of cotton.

In its latest forecast, Meteorological Services Department head of forecasting Mr James Ngoma assured farmers that it will be sunny and hot the rest of this week in most parts of the country.

He advised farmers to keep on planting and consult experts to guide them on the types of crops to plant.

Mr Ngoma also advised farmers to put on protective sun hats to avoid direct sunlight and keep hydrated.

“We are expecting less precipitation across the country with mostly sunny conditions prevailing in most areas,” he said.

“However, we still advise those sticking on farming activities to keep hydrated because there will be sunny and hot especially towards the end of this week. It is a good period for farmers to keep on planting with consultations with Agritex officers within their areas to ensure that they plant the right type of variety.”

Mr Ngoma assured the public that more rains will come as the month progressed.

“There will be dry conditions this week, but as the month progresses there is high improvement of rainfall as the systems began to establish across the country, even in areas of Mashonaland provinces where we have seen a deficit in terms of rainfall amount in October and early days of November,” he said.

Tobacco Farmers Union Trust president, Mr Victor Mariranyika, said farmers should speed up planting since most areas have received enough rains to plant.

The progress so far showed by farmers is a positive step towards achieving food security.

“This is greatly appreciated, we can foretell that the season is good and there is a possibility of a bumper harvests if farmers follow good agronomic practises in farming,” he said. “We encourage farmers to do more and plant more hectares. We are an agro-based economy. We rely on agriculture to enhance food security in the country.”

Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust president Mrs Depinah Nkomo said the progress showed so far is positive adding that if rainfall persist for one or two weeks all farmers will take up planting.

“At the moment the hectares planted are very low,” she said. “If the rains improve we can see an increase in hectares. It is crucial for farmers to diversify their crops so as to ensure food security. If we continue to receive rains we can assure of positive results in our yields.

‘At the moment farmers are busy with planting but we are not sure if can continue receiving enough rains in order for farmers to continue with planting.”

Many farmers have started planting and those who have already benefited from good falls since the onset of the month have been advised not to delay planting. The rains have seen an increase in planting across the country, especially those taking part under the climate proofed Presidential Input Scheme had already taken advantage of the early rains to plant.

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