Farmers urged to conserve moisture

By Boitumelo Makhurane

Farmers in Matabeleland North have been urged to conserve moisture in light of the erratic rains being experienced across the country.

The 2019/2020 cropping season has seen crops suffer moisture stress owing to prolonged dry spells, something that has scuttled all hopes of a bumper harvest.

Matabeleland North provincial agronomist, Davison Masendeke, told CITE it was unfortunate that not all the areas in the province had received good rains.

“Those areas that received rains must conserve moisture as much as they can,” said the agronomist.

“Farmers are urged to conserve moisture for the survival of their crops since there is no rain.”

He advised farmers to employ water conservation techniques, such as ridges, light cultivation and weed management to ensure the survival of both crops and livestock, adding they should also endeavour to control pests.

“If it happens that it rains, farmers are encouraged to plant short-season crops,” said Masendeke.

“Farmers should do dry planting in anticipation of the rains so that they find seed already in the soil.”

He still encouraged dry planting of small grains for those who have not lost hope yet.

Masendeke said: “In terms of livestock, farmers are advised to conserve water and make sure that their livestock is dipped in order to kill pests for their survival. I encourage farmers to practice weekly dipping of livestock.”

Masendeke added that irrigation was the best way to go in the face of climate change.  

“Farmers are urged to practice irrigation but should practice irrigation methods that conserve water such as micro-irrigation,” he emphasised.

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