The planting season is now in full swing in Manicaland, as most farmers took advantage of the rains received last week to plant drought-resistant varieties to counter the El Nino climatic conditions predicted for this season.
In an interview with The Herald, Agritex head for Manicaland Mrs Phillipa Rwambiwa said farmers in areas like Chipinge and Nyanga had already started planting following the onset of the rains last week.
"Most farmers are rushing to plant their crops so as to take advantage of the conducive moisture as well as fast-tracking the planting process and avoid waiting for the next rains," she said.
"They have listened to the advice given by the Met department on the unpredictable weather forecasts and have selected varieties that require less water and time to mature. In areas where some farmers had not prepared land because of dry ground, they are now busy preparing their land ready to put down their crop."
Mrs Rwambiwa said although farmers with larger pieces of land had started planting, most were facing challenges with fuel, which is in short supply in most service stations.
She applauded the 2019 budget allocation for agriculture, saying the sector was key in bringing about sustainable answers to productivity and food security.
"The way the Budget has been crafted is a step in the right direction. We cannot continue to import soyabeans and wheat," said Mrs Rwambiwa. "The fiscal measures by the Finance Minister (Professor Mthuli Ncube) will bring private players and banks to contract potential farmers while Government is capacitating irrigation and mechanisation. "
Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (ZFU) Manicaland provincial manager Mr Daniel Mungazi said farmers in Chipinge and surrounding areas that received significant rainfall should start planting as soon as possible.