BY REX MPHISA
BEITBRIDGE, which is one of Zimbabwe’s most arid districts that has been often supported with food aid, is this year poised for a bumper harvest
The district is in agro-ecological region five, and this year it can make history if it is able to feed its 120 000 residents.
Very often the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depot in Beitbridge operates as a storage facility for drought relief food.
The district Agritex officer Masauso Mawocha yesterday said he is confident that the district will be able to produce sufficient food this year after its 4 200 farmers benefited from the Pfumvudza government scheme.
“There is an improvement in the condition of crops compared to same period last year,” Mawocha said.
“Farmers received fall armyworm chemicals and knapsack sprayers under the Presidential Inputs Scheme (Pfumvudza programme),” he said allaying fears of an armyworm outbreak.
The armyworm has often affected farmers in the Mazunga area. Mawocha said this year the 4 200 farmers in the district received chemicals to fight the armyworm.
“They also received agricultural input support from Save the Children. They now await further support in the form of small grain seeds and fertilisers from the World Food Programme working in collaboration with Caritas and Agritex “he said.
More than 10 000 households in Beitbridge have been on the drought relief list for decades.
Mawocha said most irrigation schemes in the district were operating at 50% capacity.
“Our irrigation schemes are doing well and operating at 50% capacity, while some of them are under rehabilitation. The water table has also been raised making pumping of water to irrigation schemes more efficient.”
Beitbridge East MP Albert Nguluvhe (Zanu PF) said government should assist farmers with grain storage facilities.
“Farmers must be taught about efficient methods to store grain,” Nguluvhe said.