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.***

Desperate farmers resort to substitutes

Desperate farmers resort to substitutes

Desperate farmers in Matabeleland, whose maize crop has wilted due to the 
current dry spell, are now trying substitutes such as sunflowers and soya 
by Zwanai Sithole Harare

Maize in most parts of the region is now a write-off because of the 
persistent dry conditions. Gwanda, Inyathi, Beitbridge, Nkayi and Binga are 
badly in need of rain, not only to save the crops, but also to replenish low 
soil moisture reserves, start rivers flowing and fill up the dams. “In some 
instances farmers were forced to plant their maize crop three times.

They are now resorting to substitutes and other short varieties so as to try 
and remain in business,” said he president of the Zimbabwe Commercial 
Farmers Union, DonaldKhumalo.

The production cost of maize was very high compared to imported maize. “The 
problem is that a ton of soya beans is currently being sold for between $500 
and $600 while maize is going for $290, which isvery low considering the 
inputs used,” he said.

The Zimbabwe Farmers Union reports that in some parts of Masvingo and 
Midlands, the situation is also critical.

“Some good rains continued to be received in parts of Manicaland, Midlands 
and Mashonaland provinces,” says its latest weekly market guide. But in the 
rest of the country crops have permanently wilted – even if the rains were 
to come now, most of the crops will not recover.

“The availability and quality of grazing has also been affected in these low 
rainfall areas,” ZFU said, adding that the major challenge remains the 
shortage of top dressing fertilizer.

“The first day of tobacco sales (Wednesday last week) performed, in most 
respects, much better than the same day last year. The strict use of the 
sales booking system seems to have helped to decongest the tobacco floors,” 
said ZFU.

Late rain-fed tobacco is at varying stages with the majority at topping and 
suckering stages. Generally the crop is said to be in good condition.

The cotton crop condition varies with region due to the varying rainfall 
distribution, with the early cotton crop at boll formation while some is 
still at vegetative stages. “Generally the crop is flourishing and thriving 
well except in areas badly affected by the long dry spell. Planting of sugar 
beans and sweet potato continued in high rainfall areas while most soya 
beans, groundnuts and sunflower are at flowering stages. Some Irish potato 
is being harvested and on the market,” said ZFU.


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