Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Black frost destroys citrus, horticulture

Black frost destroys citrus, horticulture

A lot of farmers in Bulawayo’s peri urban farming area last week lost most 
of their horticulture crops and citrus produce to severe frost following a 
cold spell experienced in most parts of the country.
Zwanai Sithole Harare

Farmers who spoke to The Zimbabwean said their crops had been destroyed by 
frost bite, which hit most parts of Matabeleland destroying crops such as 
tomatoes, cabbages, potatoes, maize and flowers.

“I lost my entire one hectare of tomato crop to the frost. All along I have 
been irrigating my crop every day to prevent the frost – but all was in 
vain. This is a big loss considering that the tomatoes were almost ripe,” 
said Tobias Khan, a farmer in Trenance.

Khan said since he started farming in 1999 he has not experienced such a 
severe frost as the one which damaged his crop last week.

The frost also left a trail of destruction at a flower producing farm owned 
by Richard Khumalo along the Bulawayo/Victoria Falls road.

“We haven’t experienced such a severe frost as this one before. It must have 
been the black frost I have heard of that destroys everything. I lost my 
entire flower crop which was meant for export to South Africa,” said 

One of the biggest producers of horticultural produce and citrus fruits, 
Willgrove Farm Enterprise in Esigodini in Matabeleland South also had its 
tomato crop and citrus plantation damaged by the frost.

Early frost can be detrimental to crops especially if the development has 
been delayed.

The extent of damage caused frost depends on the temperature, length of 
exposure time, humidity levels and speed to which the freezing temperature 
was reached.

Frost damage occurs as moisture within the plant crystallises and expands. 
This causes cells to rupture and fluid to leak out thus, the watery 
appearance of plant tissue or seed after a damaging frost. Last week 
temperatures plummeted to as low as minus 11 degrees with some areas 
recording temperatures as low as minus 4 degrees Celsius.


New Posts: