Farmers Intensify Planting

Farmers have intensified planting under Pfumvudza and conventional methods with experts advising them to implement mitigatory measures such as water harvesting so that crops will not suffer during the mid-season dry spell which is usually experienced in January.

Farmers have also been urged to be on the lookout for pests and diseases.

Agriculture expert, Mr Ivan Craig last week said although the country was receiving rains there was no guarantee that it could last up to the end of the season and therefore there was need to implement water harvesting techniques so that crops will not suffer during dry period.

“Farmers who planted using the Pfumvudza concept should apply more mulch while those who used the conventional method can do trenching and apply mulch in the trenches to conserve moisture. This will also reduce washing away of the top soil.

“Farmers can also do tie ridging or cultivate. Cultivating is a critical operation which encourage penetration of water,” he said.

Mr Craig said those who had not thinned should do so to ensure that they have the right population.

“Farmers should also scout for pests especially the fall armyworm and watch out for diseases,” he said.

“The most important issue is correct identification of pests, using the correct chemicals and applying using the correct nozzle for spraying. When not sure, farmers should consult extension officers for help.”

Mr Craig said rains had caused leaching in some areas and farmers could apply top dressing using split application method.

“For split application farmers can apply half the amount of top dressing fertiliser at two to three weeks and the remaining after four weeks.

“Those in areas where there is no leaching can apply the full amount once.

“For top dressing fertiliser, the first application should be out 10 cm from the plant while the second should be put at 40-45cm away from the crop,” he said.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Dr Shadreck Makombe said the bulk of crops were looking good although the incessant rains were now presenting challenges such as leaching and water logging in some areas “Those with dams are harvesting water but we encourage all farmers to practice water harvesting so they can use it during winter cropping season,” he said.

“It is not good that we receive high rainfall but end up suffering when the country would have received significant rains.”

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