‘Too much’ rains worry farmers

Thursday, 23 February 2017  Radio Dialogue

BULAWAYO - Subsistence farmers around the country are concerned that too much rainfall could damage their crops following the violent Cyclone Dineo storms that hit Southern African countries including Zimbabwe over the past few days.

The farmers said after a couple of dry years that have seen people desperately turning to prayer for rains, this year’s rains are likely to worsen the situation.

Farmers in separate interviews expressed fear that excessive rain and the accompanying flooding will cause a myriad of problems for producers as flooding can cause crops to become submerged in water resulting in potentially devastating losses.

Farmers said crop yields might fall dramatically if required crop care cannot be provided as flooded or wet conditions are preventing them from accessing their fields.

In separate interviews, the farmers said they are failing to access their fields to cultivate the fields so as to remove weed, which must be done at the correct time to maximise crop productivity and yield.

Gogo Mandlovu a subsistent farmer from Bulawayo, Magwegwe North suburb said the whole flash floods situation is a total fiasco to many subsistence farmers around the city.

“The whole situation is disaster, the only places where there are healthy crops around the edges of the field, but in the middle it is a total mess, crops such as like pumpkins and water melons are now rotting in water.”

She said although the abundant water will not increase the yields, it will improve water supplies.

“We thank God that he has provided us with water but as of better yields, the situation will remain the same as of the past years,” she stated.

She said the only crops that are likely to make it through this season successfully are peanuts and sugar cane.

Pyangani Sibanda in Hwange, Dinde area said the rains have swept away crops.

“The rains have damaged the crops especially those ones who are still small, in some areas there is complete disaster, there was too much water on the crops while they were still growing,” said Sibanda.

Some expressed concern that there might be outbreaks of water borne diseases due to these flash floods.

Kelly Khuphe from Plumtree Dombodema village said their pit latrines are now filled with water causing them to spill to some water sources, which they use for consumption.

Farmers from Gwanda said they have not faced these challenges as and the moment rainfall patterns are the best in their area and are expecting far much better yields than the previous dry years.

However, in spite of challenges that can contributed to by these flash floods, many contested that they said they would rather live with the consequences of too much rains rather than drought.

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