Zimbabwe’s Meteorological Services Department (Met) has warned farmers not to plant this week saying a prolonged dry spell is expected in October.
The warning comes after most parts of the country received rainfall in the past few days which has seen some farmers across the country planting crops.
But, the Met Department warned farmers this week Zimbabwe was likely to receive erratic rainfalls up to the end of October.
“We are coming from a wet weekend to a dry week. Please do not plant yet, unless you have the means to irrigate.
October rains are generally erratic for rain-fed agriculture; more effective rains are expected from November into December 2020 in most places,” said the Met Department.
It is expected that Harare Metropolitan, much of Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, north-eastern parts of Midlands, most of Manicaland are going to receive normal to above normal rainfall from October to March next year.
The greater part of Matabeleland North, some parts of Bulawayo Metropolitan, parts of Midlands and parts of Mashonaland West will also receive normal to above normal rainfall patterns, according to the Met Department.
Masvingo, the bulk of Midlands, Bulawayo Metropolitan, the extreme southern parts of Manicaland and the bulk of Matabeleland South will receive normal to below normal. Goromonzi Agriculture Extension officer Tanaka Homela told Business Times that the rains are a false start to the season.
“…Those rains (received recently) are not enough to support plants’ life till the next effective rains in November. We advise farmers to up preparations so that when the consistent rains come through, no one is left behind,” Homela said.
He added: “As you know most of our farmers in Zimbabwe are small scale; they rely more on draught power hence the rains have given animals enough time to recover from drought as grass and rains are steadily becoming more and more available.”
“Strong, healthy animals will help farmers to plough large tracts of land which is very possible with the grazing lands which are expected to be readily available in the next weeks,” he said. Zimbabwe is expected to receive normal to above normal rainfall patterns in all three ecological regions.
The Met Department said observations made in recent seasons are that heavy storms followed by periods of elevated temperatures are getting more frequent. Zimbabwe has been hit by successive droughts in the past few years and the Met Department is encouraging people to continue with water harvesting programmes and conservation agriculture practices.