THE government has every right to celebrate the Pfumvudza agricultural programme as a success as it anticipates ‘‘a bumper harvest’’, but it has to carry out a proper crop assessment across the country Incessant rains have become a threat to what looks like one of the best agricultural seasons in recent times.
Some crops are already a write-off because of the rains, hence a need for assessment for proper planning. It would not be an overstatement that an assessment on the ground would reveal that a significant percentage of crops have been badly affected by the incessant rains, which are not showing any signs of subsiding.
Some of those whose crops have been badly affected because of too much rain were part of the Pfumvudza programme and are expected to pay for the inputs they received.
But because of the situation on the ground, it will be difficult for them to do so. The government should move in to assist the affected farmers and help them recover where possible.
The heavy rains have been a blessing in disguise for most districts, which have struggled with water shortages in past seasons when they used to receive low rainfall. Places like Bulawayo which have been experiencing water shortages for many years now should come up with solid water harvesting and storage plans so that citizens have better access to potable water.
As of now, we expect the government, in consultation with irrigation farmers, to be making plans to find ways of conserving water in spilling dams for future use. This year can be an all-round the clock farming season for farmers, but this needs planning; equipping the irrigation systems and making inputs available.
We expect the government to roll out another funding programme for irrigation farmers as we have to utilise the abundant rains us. There is no excuse for poor winter farming and with the dams full, we expect maximum utilisation during the winter season.
Those farmers who are into fish farming have the rains to thank as this can be their season as well, as their fish farms would flourish with abundant water. The rains are also a blessing for cattle ranching and even milk production as grazing will be in abundance.