Source: Midlands farmers replant third time | The Herald February 20, 2019
FARMERS here have started replanting for the third time after the province received significant rains late last week.
The Midlands Province has been receiving erratic rains since the start of the 2018-19 farming season which has seen crops wilting.
Midlands Provincial Crop and Livestock officer Mrs Madeline Magwenzi said crops in the province, especially maize, had wilted due to a prolonged dry spell.
She said farmers were still hopeful and have started planting again.
“We have teams from my office that have been doing crop assessment in the province and the reports we are getting are that the farmers are not tiring, most of them have started planting again despite the fact that it’s the second time their crops have wilted after planning.
“Most of them are peasant farmers and they have other sources of income except farming so they are still hopeful they would eventually get something,” she said.
Mrs Magwenzi said the weather patterns were very unpredictable hence farmers should just try everything.
“We are facing an El-nino induced drought so the farmers should just try everything. We cannot at this point in time discourage those who are replanting because the weather patterns are changing. It’s now a gamble especially when one is not using irrigation farming. We have said those who still have the energy to plant should do so,” she said.
Mrs Magwenzi said they were preparing a crop assessment report which should be complete by the end of this month.
She said the preliminary findings point to a bad season for the province with most parts expected to get zero yields.
“The situation on the ground is not good. Most crops had wilted and this is the reason why most of the farmers are replanting now out of desperation,” she said. Meanwhile, some farmers in the province have decried the price of seed in shops which they said is beyond their reach.
The farmers said they are using untested seeds from their barns after failing to raise money to buy proper seeds from recognised seeds houses.
“The reason why maybe some of our crops easily wilt is because we have not been using tested seeds.
“We are just taking maize seeds from our barns and planting. The seeds are not resistant to pests and diseases and this is the major reason why our crops were affected,” said Mr John Nzongo of Zvishavane.