Farmers pin hopes on cotton, traditional grains

Source: Farmers pin hopes on cotton, traditional grains | Herald (Top Stories)

Masvingo Correspondent

Farmers in some parts of Masvingo are pinning their hopes on traditional grains and cotton after most of their maize crop was a write-off.

Districts like Chiredzi, Zaka and Mwenezi are the hardest hit and are traditionally the driest regions in Masvingo.

Masvingo provincial Agritex officer Mr Aaron Muchazivepi yesterday said the maize output this season was severely affected by drought.

“A crop assessment exercise has been done across the province and from the preliminary findings we have noted that most farmers suffered serious setbacks in terms of the production of maize,” he said.

“The prolonged dry spell, which affected most parts of Masvingo province had negative effects on the maize crop, with districts such as Mwenezi, Zaka and Chiredzi being the worst affected.”

Mr Muchazivepi revealed that cotton and traditional grains were still thriving despite the damage caused by the prolonged dry spell.

“From the consultations and farm visits done so far, most farmers are in good spirits and some have even started harvesting,” he said Mr Muchazivepi.

A cotton farmer in Chiredzi Mr Mike Dhliwayo said: “Crops such as maize have completely failed in most parts of Chiredzi due to moisture stress, but we are delighted that crops like rapoko, millet and cotton are thriving.”

He challenged cotton contractors to continue allocating pesticides to farmers, as their crop had now reached the critical point of ball formation.