WHILE some parts of the country are expecting poor harvests due to unreliable rainfall this season, it is a different story for a Chipinge South farmer who has scored big through the production of a new small grain variety.
Mr Charles Sithole Mhlahlayazi of Chinyamukwakwa in Chipinge South (Ward 26) decided to experiment by putting his 10-hectare plot under a new red sorghum seed variety – Rakodzi – and the results have turned out to be what the doctor rightly prescribed for the Lowveld farmer.
The red sorghum is in great demand, especially from those in the brewing industry.
Chipinge South receives low rainfall and falls under Natural Region Five.
The success story of Mr Mhlahlayi is based on his close working relationship with the seed breeders he always consults to come up with the most suitable seed variety for his area.
Mr Mhlahlayazi said the area always record poor harvests as farmers in the area are reluctant to try new varieties.
He, however, is expecting to harvest between four and five tonnes per hectare.
The producer price for a tonne of sorghum is pegged at $70 263.
Speaking during a field day hosted by seed breeders, Klein Karoo (K2) Seed Marketing Company at his farm recently, Mr Mhlahlayazi said growing the new sorghum variety is a game changer in ensuring food security for people in areas that receive low rainfall.
He said he is expecting a bumper harvest from his small investment.
“The idea of growing this type of sorghum came after listening to a radio programme from a local radio station. From what I heard during the programme, I did not hesitate to grow the red sorghum variety despite some discouragements from fellow farmers. I went to local shops where I bought a 10kg bag of the seed. I got basic knowledge on how to grow it since noone had ever tried it here.
“Despite receiving low rainfall this season, my crop performed very well. I am expecting more than four tonnes per hectare. I am expecting high returns for my investment,” said Mr Mhlahlayazi.
Speaking during the same event, K2 regional manager, Mr Petros Nyamande said the new sorghum seed variety has many advantages to farmers in dry regions.
“Farmers in areas that received low rainfall should grow this variety to ensure food security. lt is also on high demand from breweries.
“The crop cannot be attacked by birds like other small grains and once it germinates, you cannot make losses,” said Mr Nyamande.
Member of Parliament for Chipinge South, Honourable Enock Porusingazi said farmers in areas that receive low rains should work closely with experts from seed companies to get the correct varieties for their respective areas.