Farmers in Mashonaland East Province are ready for the 2018-19 farming season with the province targeting more than 200 000 hectares on maize production, Provincial Agricultural Technician and Extension Services officer Mr Leonard Munamati has said.
In a recent interview with The Herald, Mr Munamati said farmers must work closely with extension officers for them to succeed in their operations.
He said farmers should treat farming as a business to ensure the growth of the country's economy. "The province has already started serious preparations for the 2018-19 farming season with 200 000 hectares to be put under maize farming," Mr Munamati said.
"We are also targeting over 20 000 hectares for tobacco, we will put 49000 hectares for groundnuts, over 9000 hectares for soya beans, 5000 for cow peas and 6000 for roundnuts among others.
"We are urging our farmers to work closely with our extension officers deployed in every ward, we want our farmers to be guided by sound agricultural practices and demonstrate that they are taking farming as a tool which can easily wipe away poverty, agriculture is a tool for economic growth of our nation hence the need for a guided and focused farming activities."
Mr Munamati urged farmers to seriously consider crop diversification in view of the fact that the country could receive normal to below normal rainfall this season. He encouraged them to focus on small grains like rapoko which are drought resistant.
"Farmers in dry areas like in some parts Mutoko, Mudzi, Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe, Hwedza and Chikomba should focus more on small grains like rapoko and millet. As a province we are targeting at least 32 000 hectares to be put under small grains this season," said Mr Munamati.
He urged communal farmers to focus on soil and water conservation and crop diversification saying if farmers grow a variety of crops they would spread their risk and minimise loses. He said this season farmers should also consider short to medium seed varieties.