Source: Farmers optimistic as rains persist | The Herald January 10, 2020
Elita Chikwati and Talent Gore
Farmers are optimistic that crops will recover from moisture stress, as the Meteorological Services Department advised that the wet spell will continue until next week.
Rains are expected in Matabeleland North, northern areas of the Midlands, all Mashonaland provinces, Harare metropolitan and northern areas of Manicaland province until January 14 with heavy downpours of 50mm or more in 24 hours.
Spatial rainfall distribution is likely during this period in the mentioned areas and the storms could be violent.
On Wednesday, notable rainfall was recorded in Nkayi (78mm), Logan Park (Hatfield) in Harare 73mm, Plumtree (68mm), Masvingo (63mm), Nyanga (58mm), Kwekwe (34mm), Gokwe (26mm) and Kariba (24mm).
The distribution has, however, not been uniform as some areas have not received significant rains.
From Monday to Wednesday, the rains were isolated over the northern parts of the country.
From Thursday to today (Friday), the spatial distribution is predicted to increase to cover most parts of the country, with localised heavy downpours in some places.
According to the MSD, flash flooding is expected in some areas.
“Avoid parking cars under trees, stay indoors during thunderstorms and do not take shelter in isolated sheds or under trees,” read the statement.
Before the recent rains, farmers were worried about the condition of crops.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union president, Mr Abdul Nyathi said he was hopeful that the recent rains could revive pastures and water for both people and livestock in the southern provinces.
He said if crops and pastures in the northern provinces improve, farmers in southern provinces could also benefit as they could import food and stockfeed.
He expressed concern that most of the early planted crop in the southern provinces was now a write off.
“Hopefully, next week there will be significant changes to the crops.
“We have never experienced this type of drought.
“During the previous droughts farmers in the southern provinces could get food from the northern provinces, but this year even the northern areas are being affected by the hot and dry conditions.
“We have had some areas that have received rains, but it is insignificant,” he said.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Mr Wonder Chabikwa said; “We have started to receive some rains. There are reports that some parts of Gwanda, Kadoma and Chegutu received some meaningful rains on Sunday, but destruction has already taken place in other areas.
“These rains may benefit the late planted crop and the crop that is still germinating.
“Those who are still planting should go for traditional varieties and short season varieties for maize.”