Zimbabwe: Farmers Urged to Harvest Rain-Water

27 January 2020

Farmers in ecological regions Four and Five have been urged to practice rain-water harvesting, collecting water on their farms using dams, to improve yields and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Rainfall patterns are changing, with rains far more erratic and more seasons producing low yields.

Addressing farmers here recently, a senior researcher from the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre, Mr Kumbirai Nhongo, said farmers in drought-prone areas should employ new farming methods to preserve moisture and improve food productivity.

"Due to sporadic rainfall that the country is receiving, farmers have to invest more in projects such as water harvesting through construction of small individual dams or weirs," said Mr Nhongo.

"If by any chance the rains come, they are often heavy, characterised by violent floods and run-offs that are destructive as well as life threatening.

"These kinds of rainfall patterns can be successfully utilised in the form of rain-water harvesting for sustainable climate change adaptation and mitigation."

Once water harvesting has been done, food security will be guaranteed to improve the nutrition of families.

Said Mr Nhongo: "Rain-water harvesting for small-scale farmers is fundamental in improving the nutritional value of households.

Previously, rain-water harvesting has been practised in arid and semi-arid regions of the world to alleviate water shortages for human consumption and for agricultural purposes."

In the past, Zimbabwe did not practise much rain-water harvesting.

Speaking at the same event, Agritex officer Mr Neil Madoda said: "Apart from water-harvesting, communities in regions Four and Five are recommended to choose appropriate crop varieties after consultation with agriculture extension officers."

Acting director of climate change department Mr Tirivanhu Muhwati said in the context of unprecedented climate change and food security, adaptation in agriculture systems was important in drought prone areas.

Successive crop failure has characterised drought-prone areas across Zimbabwe over the years.

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