Declining water levels hit horticulture hard


© DECLINING water levels in rivers, dams and other water sources are affecting the horticulture industry as farmers are failing to irrigate kitchen staples such as tomatoes, onions and green vegetables, the Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe (CFU) has said.
Drought has continued to ravage most parts of the country and this has affected output and delivery of vegetables, particularly at Harare’s biggest market, Mbare Musika.
CFU chief executive Ben Purcell-Gilpin said supplies in retail shops had also been affected due to water and power outages largely affecting peri-urban farmers.
“The biggest challenges at the moment are electricity and water. Retailers mostly rely on peri-urban farming and power cuts are affecting farmers. Water sources are drying up and drilling boreholes is expensive. Another issue is that prices are not viable,” he said.
Farmers throughout the country have recorded high levels of moisture stress as crops are wilting due to high temperatures.
Youth Initiative for Community Development (YICD) programme officer Kudakwashe Makanda, who works with farmers in Mutoko District, said most water sources have dried up.
“The shallow streams from which farmers siphon the water for irrigation have greatly depleted and with the scorching sun, their produce is quickly dying. They use open-source water that is harvested from the rains since they can’t afford to install boreholes so the erratic rainfalls are affecting their produce and their tomatoes have wilted and or died.”

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