SAMUEL NJINGA IN MASVINGO
Small scale farmers in Masvingo Province are feeling the pinch of the negative effects of climate change, which have a dire impact on both crop and livestock production, Business Times can report.
Jonathan Shindi, a farmer in the Mushandike communal area, told Business Times that farmers were battling the severe effects of climate change.
“We are battling to make it a score year after year. There has been a paradigm shift that we really don`t understand as far as our usual seasons are concerned.
“Here in Mushandike we grew up knowing that it is around this time that we keep our nose to the grindstone so as to realize a bumper harvest,” Shindi said.
He added: “Vegetation would be thick, showing some life. Our cattle would be seen grazing everywhere without struggles. No supplementary food for our cattle was required. Gone are the years when it was known that Mushandike is the bread basket of this region.”
Another farmer, Tapiwa Muchekenyera weighed in saying he was now indulging into illegal mining.
“Life has to continue. With or without agriculture. We have now chosen to resort to gold panning as a way of making sure that we don`t keep on drowning.”
The majority of small holder farmers are finding it difficult to adapt to the effects of climate change, according to Odreck Mukorera, the national project coordinator for the Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Program, an organization that rehabilitates and revitalises farming programs in the communal areas of Mushandike, Banga, Tshovani, Malikango, and Musaverema in Mwenezi.
“The country has been witnessing effects of climate change in the last decade and the main forms of this is the sudden increase in the average temperatures as well as the decrease in the annual rainfall that we have been receiving. Most of the small holder farmers who depend on the rains have been left highly vulnerable to these unpredictable rainfall patterns that we keep on experiencing as a global village.” He said.