HomeNewsGovt urged to prioritise rural farmers

Govt urged to prioritise rural farmers

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THE Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union (ZFU) has urged suppliers to prioritise inputs to farmers in rural areas to improve productivity.

OWN CORRESPONDENT

ZFU president Abdul Credit Nyathi said farmers should have collected their inputs such as fertilisers and seed for the 2014/15 agricultural season since the rainy season is forecast to begin this month.

“Farmers should have collected their fertilisers and seeds from the suppliers as the rains are said to start in mid-October or end of the month,” said Nyathi.

“Inputs suppliers should push the inputs to farmers in the rural areas and also to agro-dealers.”

Nyathi advised the northern region provinces to plant high-yielding to medium varieties and southern region farmers to plant drought-resistant crop varieties such as rapoko, millet and sorghum.

“We advise farmers in northern regions to plant high-yielding varieties and also southern regions to plant short-growing varieties so as to withstand the drought.

“There have been problems year after year in the supply of these short-growing varieties such as sorghum and rapoko in the southern region and the input suppliers should be realistic,” he said.

Nyathi said farming implements had not been distributed to farmers but the Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development ministry was working with Agribank to avail the input schemes.

“The Ministry of Agriculture is working with Agribank to provide several input schemes and the farmers have not yet received these schemes. We are concerned for the farmers since they have made their farming preparations in regards to the Presidential Well-wishers Input Scheme.”

The Meteorological Services Department it could not give an exact date when the rainy season would start, but was guided by climatological records and weather systems as they become more pronounced into the season.

According to Naboth Chaibva, a meteorologist, the onset and cessation of rains has been erratic of late due to climate change and it was imperative that farmers mainstream into their planning the 2014/15 seasonal weather forecast that was issued by the Meteorological Services Department together with the Agromet bulletins on regular weather updates tailored for farmers.

“According to the seasonal climate outlook for 2014/15, farmers in the northern parts of the country, specifically in meteorological Region 1 are encouraged to increase hectarage since normal rainfall is expected. The rainfall may be biased towards the above normal,” said Chaibva.

“Farmers in Region 2 and 3 are most likely going to experience a short season, hence planting with the first rains is encouraged, staggering plants and an option for small grains would be encouraged.”

Chaibva said irrigation is encouraged for those with access to dams and the policies of small dam construction and borehole drilling or deepening should continue, mindful of the changing climate.

“Those with ready access to water should not wait for the main rains to fall. They can plant from the end of September as the temperatures will be high enough.

“The forecast for reduced rainfall over Region 3 is a cause for concern, especially for people as well as wild animals in the national parks in Matabeleland and Masvingo provinces, hence the need to secure water reservoirs,” said Chaibva.

Chaibva urged farmers to use the 2014/15 seasonal forecast for Zimbabwe together with the regular Agromet bulletins that are issued by the Meteorological Services Department.

“Farmers should liaise with Agritex officers in their area so they can be advised accordingly,” Chaibva said.

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