Two-week dry spell expected, farmers urged to do crop management

Two-week dry spell expected, farmers urged to do crop management

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) president Dr Shadreck Makombe says the rain break is necessary.

Farmers are urged to concentrate on good agronomic practices and crop management following a forecast by the Meteorological Services Department of a two-week dry spell.

The prolonged dry spell is expected countrywide from 19 January and is expected to end on 2 February.

Farmers are urged to apply pesticides and fertilisers with guidance from local Agritex officers.

Farmers have been receiving continuous heavy rains for the past weeks and the majority were failing to do any activities.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development permanent secretary Professor Obert Jiri said this is the time for farmers to apply fertilisers, weeding, or spray chemicals for pests and diseases.

“Complete any planting, even of traditional grains and sunflowers that are ordinarily planted at the tail end of the season. Farmers should ensure adequate moisture is available to germinate their crops. Agritex must be all out at Farmer Field Schools (FFS) and farmers’ homesteads, and must communicate best management practices,” he said.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) president Dr Shadreck Makombe said a lot of scouting is needed to ensure that pests and diseases that emanate from rains are destroyed.

“Be on the lookout for pests. Make sure you effectively weed and apply fertilisers since they will not be washed away. Herbicides should be correctly sprayed. We hope this two-week break will be utilised very well by farmers,” he said.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) secretary general, Mr Paul Zakariya said the rain break is necessary adding that the sun and heat are critical in the growth of plants.

“This is the time to ensure that we do crop management as farmers. Too much rain may affect crops again so the break is critical. We hope that we will have rains after the two-week break because we don’t want our crops to suffer from heat stress and wilting as it will compromise our crops,” he said.

The El Niño phenomenon which was predicted this season is weakening its strength and farmers have been receiving heavy rains countrywide.

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