Zimbabwe: Speed Up Planting, Farmers Urged

Agriculture experts have advised farmers to speed up planting of short season varieties and late season crops so that they can catch up with time.

There are projections of mid-season dry spell and a premature cessation of the rains this season.

Experts have however, advised farmers to plant and replant with speed, apply top dressing fertiliser in small amounts and also to scout for pests especially the fall armyworm.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development chief agronomist Mrs Rutendo Nhongonhema urged farmers to plant late season crops such as sunflower, cowpeas and sugar beans.

She said farmers should also speed up re-planting but should now go for short season varieties of maize, cotton and sorghum.

“The northern parts of the country experienced a late start for the season, while in the southern parts of the country though had an early start. This was however, followed by a long dry spell.

“As a result of this, farmers in the northern provinces, are just starting to plant now, while those in the southern parts of the country are re-planting because there was poor germination although the crop that germinated was affected by the dry spell.

“We are encouraging farmers to go for shorter season varieties of crops such as sorghum, maize and even cotton.

“They have to wrap up planting now and speed it up to catch with the times. Farmers are also encouraged to grow crops which are late season crops like sugar beans sunflower and cowpeas,” she said.

Mrs Nhongonhema said mulching was critical for Pfumvudza crops to conserve moisture.

“Pfumvudza mulching it is still critical. Farmers are encouraged to stick to it so that they can conserve moisture so as to cater for the mid-season dry spell as well as the premature end to the rains. There was a premature end of the rains last season.

“Robust scouting for pests, especially fall armyworm, is a must for all farmers. This caterpillar build-up is at its peak, from mid- December up to end of January. These, coupled with the late start of the season also mean the crop is susceptible to attack,” he said.

Farmers are also encouraged to frequently top dress crops in small quantities.

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