Farmers in Matobo district, Matabeleland South Province have started preparing land for the 2018/19 summer cropping season amid high expectations that the region will receive adequate rains this year.

With the next summer cropping season fast approaching, most farmers in Matobo said they have begun land preparations so that they can plant with the early rains.

The farmers revealed that they are currently seized with clearing land, placing manure in their fields as well as sourcing agricultural inputs and tillage services.

“We have started establishing ridges so that we harvest water since we do not receive a lot of rains this side. For fertility management, we have put decomposed kraal manure in the fields, so everything is on course, we are just praying for better rains this season,” said one farmer.

Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Provincial Agronomist, Mr Innocent Nyathi implored farmers in the region to practice conservation farming and plant short season varieties in order to boost yields .

“We are urging our farmers to start preparing their fields, to heap their manure so that it is cured. It is also advisable to buy inputs on time, and we are also still emphasising conversation agriculture among farmers,” he said.

Although major irrigation schemes will this year diversify to soya bean production, the uptake of the command agriculture programme by more dry land farmers will see the province meet its targets.

The province is targeting to plant 150 000 hectares under maize, 80 000 hectares under millet and sorghum.