Plans on course for cloud seeding 

Source: Plans on course for cloud seeding | The Sunday Mail 29 DEC, 2019

Plans on course for cloud seedingCde Douglas Karoro

Tanyaradzwa Rusike

GOVERNMENT is  weighing the option of introducing early cloud-seeding to aid rainfall if the current dry weather patterns persist. Most parts of the country are experiencing a dry spell that has seen some farmers panic over the state of crops, mostly maize, which has started to show signs of moisture stress.

According to the Meteorological Services Department (MSD), most parts of the country are this week expected to be mostly sunny and hot with brief cloudy periods that may be coupled with thunderstorms in some places.

Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Douglas Karoro said plans for cloud-seeding were at an advanced stage.

“We are planning to venture into cloud-seeding since the country has not been receiving enough rainfall and our plans are now at an advanced stage,” he said.

“The current crop situation is a bit distressful to our farmers. Across the country, there has been limited rainfall activity that has resulted in some crops being affected, although not to the permanent wilting point. As regards to planting, there is still a greater percentage of farmers who are yet to plant their crops due to the late onset of the rainfall season.”

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union (ZCFU) president Mr Shadreck Makombe told The Sunday Mail that most crops were in dire need of rains.

He urged farmers with water storage facilities to harvest water and irrigate where possible.

“Given the prevailing weather pattern, where rains are erratic, it appears a drought might be with us.

“Generally, all crops are in a miserable state and if we do not receive rains in the next week or so we are assured of most crops wilting and drying.

“So due to unpredictable climatic conditions, I would urge farmers to harvest water when it rains,” he said.

Mr Makombe also urged farmers to report cases of worm invasion in the fields.

“As of now, farmers should continue with weeding and at the same time scouting for African army worm as well as fall army worm considering the devastating nature of these pests,” he said.

Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union (ZFU) executive director Mr Paul Zakariya was optimistic that if rains fall within this week, crops will improve significantly.

“Currently, the dry spell is a bit worrisome, but farmers should not panic because if we are going to receive rains any time from now the crops will improve,” he said.