EDITORIAL COMMENT: Capitalise on first rains

19 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Capitalise on first rains The challenges caused by climate change have shown that in the absence of irrigation, the late planted crop cannot thrive

The ManicaPost

THIS is mid-November, and dryland farmers should be winding up preparations for the 2021/22 summer cropping season, while their irrigating counterparts must be at full throttle planting and tendering their crop.

Fact that our seasons are increasingly being characterised by limited and unreliable rainfall concentrated during the beginning of the short rainy season with the remaining period tending to be relatively or absolutely dry — means farmers must plant with the first rains.

The challenges caused by climate change have shown that in the absence of irrigation, the late planted crop cannot thrive.

So, by now every serious farmer must be ready for the next crop.

 

There is just too little time for farmers to make the preparations that they need in order to have a successful season.

It is either now or never as those who miss the first rains will technically be out of the game.

The 2021/22 season promises to be very good, and expectations of a bumper harvest are very high.

Past trends have taught us that there are vital ingredients that must come together at the same time to have a good season.

These are adequate rainfall, both in terms of distribution geographically and distribution across the season, ample inputs availability — in all the places and at a price that the farmers can afford — and adequate technical support throughout the whole season.

In previous seasons, these parameters have never occurred at the same time.

The lesson that have been learnt about the Pfumvudza programme, which this season is targeting three million households, is that it is possible to galvanise the country towards one goal — food security.

There have been a number of success stories in both communal and new resettlement areas to suggest that with more and better policy, technical, technological and financial support, the Pfumvudza programme can thrive and return Zimbabwe to its status as the continent’s breadbasket.

The Pfumvudza programme is being used to galvanise the agriculture sector by assuring farmers of access to agriculture inputs and finance.

 

The programme must be buttressed by continuous proper supervision and motivation for farmers to meet their obligations.

It is our hope that farmers have been paid for their produce and using part of the proceeds to recapitalise.

 

Agriculture is a business that should finance itself for it to be successful.

If a farmer produces and sells, they should be able to recapitalise and refinance their enterprise.

 

After a very successful 2020/2021 agricultural season where almost everything fell into place from the abundant rains, to the availability of inputs and timely extension services, everyone, but more importantly, all the farmers should be looking forward to build on the season and solidify the gains that were made.

This was based on the Government infrastructure meeting the promises that had been made on earlier in the season.

A delay by a single day in the preparation for this season has catastrophic results.

By now farmers should have an idea on how much area they are going to put under what crops.

 

The inputs they need should be at their farm gates in the right quantities to meet the requirements.

For those grappling with these prerequisites, it is not too wrong at the moment to say that the 2021/2022 agricultural season has already been lost.

 

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