The Lands and Agriculture Ministry has started crafting a soil and water conservation policy in a bid to boost crop yields across the country.
The introduction of the policy comes at a time when Zimbabwe, like the rest of Africa, is experiencing droughts and reduced agricultural yields which are expected to fall by up to 50% by 2040. An estimated 75 million people in sub-Saharan Africa could be highly exposed to severe drought, according to the Coping with Drought and Climate Change Project.
Earlier this year, the government said it was considering a new law to mitigate rampant land degradation and siltation of water sources across the country.
Speaking on the sidelines of the soil and water conservation stakeholders meeting in Harare on Friday, chief director of mechanisation in the Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development ministry Edwin Samuel Zimhunga told NewsDay Farming that the policy would be instrumental in trying to improve and boost yields.
“When we talk about soil and water conservation, you are trying to be lean in terms of resource utilisation. Looking at soil conservation, we don’t want to lose our land due to erosion or siltation,” he said.
“Most of our rivers and dams have been silting because of the loss of the soil. We have been losing a lot of fertility which goes with the soil which then explains why we have very little yields as a country
“In terms of soil loss we have to manage it in such a way that we try to adapt and try to mitigate the effects of climate change. The more we are facing the climate change issue means we are going to have less and less rainfall in most areas.”
Zimhunga said the policy was going to address how the country could utilise the little rain it receives.
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“As a country the moment we manage the whole issue around soil conservation means we protect the fertility of the land and ultimately it means we are going to improve on our production," he said.
Zimhunga also pointed out that soil conservation was going to boost food security in the country.
“Out of the land we have, our productivity for most crops is very low. If we conserve our soil properly and make sure it remains intact and fertile, it then targets the whole element of increasing the production and productivity of that specific land hence we attain our transformation strategy goals we set up in 2019,” he said.
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