Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
More than 300 000 hectares have been put under cropping as the 2021 summer season progresses.
This comes as the bulk of the country has not received much rainfall during the past two weeks. Accumulated rainfall to date is still in the range 80 mm to 150mm across most parts of the country.
The highest accumulated rainfall for the season has so far been recorded in West Nicholson 226 mm, Concession 222mm, Belvedere 212 mm, Gweru 204 mm and Kutsaga 202 mm.
A third of the country (mostly the southern part) have received normal rainfall since the start of the season. The rest of the country is currently below normal in terms of the rainfall received to date.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development director for Agritex, Mr Stancilae Tapererwa said by December 10, farmers had planted 306 000 hectares to different crops.
Farmers had planted 207 000 hectares of maize.
Under the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme, farmers have planted 36 862 hectares, 19 829 Command and 160 718 hectares of maize were planted by self-financed farmers and those sponsored by the private sector.
During the same period last year, farmers had planted 416 179 hectares of maize.
So far farmers have planted 12 210 hectares of sorghum, a decline of 63 percent and 12 155 hectares of pearl millet compared to 24 210 hectares during the same period last year.
A total of 2 460 hectares have been put under soyabeans which is 43 percent less than the 4318 hectares that were put under the same crop last year.
Farmers have also planted 661 hectares of sunflower while tobacco growers have planted 48 704 hectares compared to 51 213 hectares during the same period last season.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Dr Shadreck Makombe said planting and replanting had intensified in most parts of the country.
“We had a false start of the rains and some farmers planted with these early rains. They are now replanting while others have started planting.
“We encourage farmers to go for short season varieties. We expect the rains to last until March,” he said.
Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust president, Mrs Depinah Nkomo said farmers were busy replanting.
“It is unfortunate farmers had planted with fertilisers and now have to replant. Some cannot afford to but seed and fertilisers for re-planting.
“This year the rains have not been good for agriculture. During the same period last year our Pfumvudza crop had reached vegetative stage but now we are still struggling with planting,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Meteorological Services Department said moisture was drifting into the country from Botswana through Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South Provinces.
“This coupled with the high temperatures over much of the country should result in thunderstorms from Tuesday afternoon.
“These storms may be violent in places (coupled with strong winds, lightning, hail and heavy rains in some places). This should be enhanced, on Friday as more moisture drifts into the country from the south-east,” said the Meteorological Services Department.