maize.jpgFarmer organisations have predicted a low harvest this season compared to the 2011/12 season due to inadequate rains in natural regions 3, 4 and 5 which has seen most of the crop under cultivation being written off.

The latest crop situation report for the 2011/12 season has recorded higher crop failure and reduction in hectarage under crop, with erratic rains and late disbursement of inputs being blamed.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union Chief Economist, Mr Peter Gambara says the two dry spells witnessed so far this season have made it difficult for the resuscitation and recovery of crops in low lying areas except for cotton, which has resisted moisture stress.

“The erratic rains and two dry spells we experienced in the second half of the season were not good. This year, yield is lower definitely and the situation is bad to say the least,” he said.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union Executive Director, Mr Paul Zakariya attributed the situation to erratic rains and the signs of rainfall retreat, which have seen both small grains and maize being written off as they have experienced permanent wilting.

“The situation is bad especially in dry regions. We have reduced yield with some totally written off. The last two weeks saw some crops in the high regions regaining and we hope for a good yield,” Mr Zakariya said.

This season received rains late which saw some farmers being forced to replant their crop, with most crying foul over the late disbursement of inputs as the cause of the delay in planting.

The crop situation report shows that cotton recorded the highest improvement with over 300 000 hectares having been planted as compared to 180 000 last year.

Tobacco hectarage went down from last year’s 73 000 to 57 000 hectares.

In a positive move for food security, peri-urban farmers managed to double their hectarage from last year’s figures.