Matabeleland farmers urged to grow small grains

Farmers in Matabeleland have been urged to focus on the drought-resistant small grains in the coming 2019 to 2020 cropping season.

While the Meteorological Services Department has predicted that most parts of the country, will receive good rains in the first three months of the impending cropping season, the same department has also said three months are likely to be bad especially in drought-prone areas.

Chief Agritex officer for Matabeleland North, Dumisani Nyoni, told CITE, they were urging farmers to major in small grains, which are suitable for the region.

“In this farming season farmers in Matabeleland should major in small grains as these are suitable for our region,” said Nyoni.

He said rains were expected to better in the first three months of the rainy season.

“In most of our areas in Matabeleland, the weather forecast shows that rains are to be better in the first three months which are October, November and December 2019,” he said.

“There are high chances that little rainfall is going to be experienced in the second phase of the season, that is in the months of January, February and March.”

Small grains such as millet, sorghum and others do well in Matabeleland.

Nyoni added owing to low rains anticipated in the second phase of the 2019 to 2020 cropping season farmers, who still want to grow maize should instead focus on the short season varieties which mature in 90 days.

“There will be few days were rain will fall in the second phase of the rainy season, so it is important that farmers major in maize seed that grows at almost 90 to 120 days,” explained Nyoni.

The chief agritex officer said the department would conduct meetings with farmers in different wards explaining to them the rain forecast for the imminent season as well as educate them on what crops to grow.

“We are going to conduct meeting in different wards in Matabeleland so that we advise farmers on the rainy season so that they know what to grow,” he said.

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