30 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Heavy Rains Sweet News for Sugarcane Farmers

Most sugarcane farmers in the Lowveld are expecting a bumper harvest following the heavy rains that fell in Masvingo province recently, an official has said. In an interview last week in Chiredzi, Commercial Sugarcane Farmers' Association of Zimbabwe chairman Mr Admore Hwarare said the crop has received fairly good amount of rains that they may not need any irrigation up to the harvesting period.

"We are now happy because the rains have come. We were almost losing hope as water levels in our main supply dams were decreasing rapidly. Now there is waterlogging at most plots and these are ideal conditions for sugarcane farming," said Mr Hwarare.

"If it continues raining, we may end up not irrigating our crops until the harvesting time. There is a drying season when the crop does not need any water apart from the moisture already in the soil. This means if it rains in February, we might forget about irrigating this season," he said.

Mr Hwarare said their major supply dams had also received significant inflows which will ensure that they have adequate water supplies if the rains stop falling.

"There is significant inflow in major dams like Bangala Dam, which is now more than 50 percent full, while the smaller dams are already full and others are now about 38 to 40 percent full depending on their carrying capacity.

We are hoping to contribute more than 20 percent of total sugar production in the country," he said.

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