Crop farmers in the Zambezi Region remain hopeful they will be able to plough their fields despite the persistent lack of rainfall and the low ground moisture which continues to leave their fields dry and unsuitable for ploughing which mostly involves ox-drawn ploughs.
In the past years, November and December were known in the region as the months in which farmers used to receive good rains and the period when ploughing reached a peak, however, in recent years things have changed which has also forced farmers to change the time of ploughing.
Speaking to New Era, one of the leading farmers in Zambezi Region Alfred Tendekule stated that despite the dry spell, farmers have not given up as they are hopeful that it will eventually rain.
"As farmers we cannot give up, as I am talking to you I am in the bush busy clearing the field, so that when the rain comes, the field will be ready," said an optimistic Tendekule.
He added that last December they almost gave up, but in the second week of January it started raining and those who had given up they were now playing catch up. "It is better that we are the ones who wait for the rain, so that when it comes it finds us ready, because when it comes it will not wait for anyone, hopefully by the end of the month or in the first weeks of January it might rain," said Tendekule.
His sentiments were shared by the former chairperson of Likwama Farmer's Union, Mathias Semi from Makanga who also stressed that he has not given up, as it is too early to do so. "We are not ploughing, we are still waiting for the rain, maybe it will come, but we are not giving up," he said.
Last year, most communal farmers in Zambezi planted early, but their seeds did not germinate and they had to re-cultivate when it started raining again towards the end of January and early February. It is with this in mind that farmers would not want to make the same mistake, and they would rather just clear their fields and wait for the rain.