Incessant rains threaten crops

THE incessant rains being experienced in some parts of the country are threatening crop yields especially for tobacco and cotton.

In the last few weeks, Zimbabwe has been experiencing a lot of rain, which has affected crop maturity.

On Monday, widespread thunderstorms were recorded and heavy falls in excess of 70mm were measured at Gokwe (73mm).

The Meteorological Services Department said other significant amounts were recorded at Hwange (30mm), Lupane (29mm), Mhondoro (29mm) and Beitbridge (27mm).

But the low pressure system that was responsible for the current wet spell has significantly weakened, probably raising hope that if the situation had not gone beyond redemption, some crops may still produce decent yields.

Some farmers in Mashonaland West fear that some of their crops may not recover if the rains persist.

A youthful cotton farmer from Alaska near Chinhoyi, Mr Talent Majoni, said the continuous rains have started taking a toll on the late planted crop.

“Cotton is a drought-resistant crop and it pulls through even on low rainfall.

“So, the continuous downpours we are experiencing here affect the crop maturity,” he said.

A communal tobacco farmer from Zvimba, Mr Stewart Karize, said the rains had affected the ripening stage of his crop.

The rains have seen most tobacco farmers with a rain-fed crop failing to cope with the rate at which the export earning crop was ripening.

Farmers are failing to cure all the tobacco in time owing to limited barn capacity.

Provincial Advisory and Rural Development Services director, Mrs Evelyn Ndoro, yesterday said while the early maize crop was doing well at grain filling stage, the incessant rains that the nation has been receiving, is threatening the late crop.

“We are finalising the crop assessment exercise which will be able to give us the actual area that has been planted,” she said.

“The crop situation is, however, good for early planted crops like maize but the later crop has been affected by rains in some sandy soil areas of the province. These areas include Mhondoro-Ngezi, Zvimba and Lions’ Den.

“For tobacco, we have realised that there is a lot of ripening of the crop, which has affected most farmers with rain-fed crops. The irrigated crop was taken off the land and ready for delivery as auction floors open next month.” – Herald

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