5 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Nation to Receive Normal Rains Until April - Met Office

Zimbabwe should brace for continued rainfall till the end of April, the Meteorological Services Department has said. Speaking at a Rainfall Season Update meeting yesterday, acting deputy director operations Mr Terence Mushore said the country would receive normal to above normal rains until the end of April.

"What is most exciting is that unlike in the previous August forecast, Region 3 which includes Matabeleland South, most of the Midlands province and parts of Manicaland will be receiving normal to above normal rainfall," he said.

In August, Region 3 was projected to receive below normal to normal rainfall.

Senior meteorologists present at the meeting were, however, quick to point out that the rains would not be evenly distributed within the said period.

Agro-meteorologist head, Mr John Mupuro said the country had been receiving good rains since the onset of the current season, which in most areas began at the end of November last year.

"Since the onset, to date we have had fair distribution both in time and place for rainfall save for Masvingo and Matabeleland South.

"By last week weather stations had received enough data but as of today, West Nicholson and Kezi are among the few areas that had not received anything," he said.

The country has, however, been warned that dry spells and tropical cyclones, which can bring tremendous alterations to rainfall patterns were not part of the forecast and could spring up at any moment.

Farmers have therefore been urged to constantly approach the Met Services Department for further information and updates on weather patterns.

Met officer Mr Jephias Mugumbate said Hwange had recorded the highest amount of rainfall - 446mm so far, while the southern part of the country had received the lowest amounts.

Yesterday's revelations come as a relief to farmers who were battling to make planting decisions following the late reception of rains.

Agronomist Ms Tamburiro Pasipanodya urged farmers to plant short season maize, cowpeas, beans, small grains and sweet potatoes.

She said in light of the projected increase in moisture activity farmers ought to be careful in their application of fertiliser so that plants could be given enough time to benefit.

Ms Pasipanodya urged Government to facilitate the release of the producer prices and help farmers successfully market their products so that they get maximum returns for their produce as there was unlikely to be significant changes in yield as the rains had come mid-season.

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