More rains expected

March 25, 2021

LIVINGSTONE MARUFU

The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) says most parts of the country would receive more rains starting this week up to the end of the month following a dry spell experienced in the past two weeks, Business Times can report.

“The department is expecting the rains from Wednesday (yesterday) going forward and the rains will begin from Matabeleland coming into other areas with almost all areas covered by the weekend. We expect this trend to continue up to the end of the month,” MDS said on Tuesday.

The department said areas like Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central and other parts of Mashonaland East have been receiving rains and the crops have not been severely affected by moisture stress.

In a survey conducted by Business Times this week, most crops have reached maturity level and are starting to dry with only a small hectarage of late crop and secondary crops requiring more rainfall.

Given that the late crop is reaching tasselling level, analysts say this is the period that crops require more rainfall than ever.

Despite farmers needing more rains up to mid-April, the crops have a good standing and the 2020/2021 summer cropping season is pointing to a bumper harvest due to the evenly distributed rainfall patterns throughout the season.

A Wedza farmer, Lameck Mururami, who had three hectares of the late crop said his maize crop is reaching maturity level and rains by weekend will seal  the deal for his crop.

“I was starting to get worried because my crop is wilting at a time when it is forming a cob and this is not a good sign as it is the stage at which a crop requires moisture a lot, but with the department projecting the rains in the coming days we are confident that we will get a decent harvest,” Mururami said.

“If we receive the rains in the next two weeks, I will be home and dry.”

Zimbabwe has experienced droughts in the past three years and most dry land farmers have suffered the most.

Given the droughts, rain-fed agriculture is no longer sustainable and there is a need to set up irrigation facilities and resuscitate the old ones.

“I have three hectares of the late maize crop and a hectare of tomatoes and my crops are in dire need of the rains as they are at maturity stage. We better hope that the MSD’s predictions are accurate and if they are not we are going to lose a fortune in a week’s time or so.

“We are appealing to the government that it should speed up the irrigation programmes across the country to mitigate droughts and dry spells,” Last Kamukono, a Saratoga farmer in Goromonzi said.

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