Mat North farmers blame drought on slow start to farming season

Matabeleland North villagers have blamed the previous year’s drought on the slow start of the farming season this year.

The situation has been further compounded by poor rains received in the past cropping season which affected crop yields and led to the death of livestock deaths.

Speaking to CITE, Elina Mkhwananzi, a villager said the rains are promising to last until the end of the farming season but their main challenge is that they do not have livestock to plough their fields.

“The rains are promising until harvesting stage but we don’t have the livestock to plough our fields and at this rate we will still be drought stricken again next year,” she said.

Mkhwananzi added that in her area they now depend on rotating their animals so that they manage to plough for everyone.

“We have joined forces in my area so that we manage to plough for everyone using the few healthy cattle we have so that when it comes to harvesting every household will have something instead of only one person harvesting,” she told CITE.

Another villager Joram Mguni said they have been getting reports that other districts have been receiving farming implements.

“I heard people from Umguza saying they got seeds from the government and tractors to help them plough since livestock had died due to drought but in Bubi district we have not received anything and I don’t know why we were excluded from that program because we are also affected by the same problem,” said Mguni.

The villagers also raised concern at the prices of maize seed which they said is beyond the reach of many.  

“Seeds are expensive let alone fertiliser so I will just plough a third of what I usually plough when the economy and prices are reasonable because all I managed to buy was a 10 kgs of maize seeds and 5kgs of sorghum,” said Mguni.

The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) had predicted normal to above normal rainfall during the first half of the cropping season stretching from October 2019 to December 2020. 

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