Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Central Province farmers urged not to plant yet

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The Meteorological Department in Central Province has advised farmers not to start planting their crops.

Central Province Meteorological Officer, Boniface Mbewe, said the showers and rains that the province is experiencing do not mark the beginning of the planting season and could result in crop wastage.

Mr Mbewe said the rains being recorded should not be considered as the start of the rain season adding that the province may not receive serious rains till the third week of November.

He told ZANIS in Kabwe that farmers should only start planting their seeds when there are adequate rains to support moisture content for their seeds to germinate and grow.

He further explained that the moisture content of about 45mm and above is required for the farmers to plant, saying anything below that could be risky because adequate rainfall will be required in the soil to protect their plants.

The Provincial Meteorological Officer stated that some parts of the province will start experiencing normal rains by November 11 while others will experience a delayed onset of the rain season.

Mr Mbewe has since advised that the right time for farmers to plant their crops will be between November 21st and 30th.

He however said the general picture is that the province will have normal rainfall until somewhere around December 15th to the first week of January 2023 when the region might experience a dry spell.

Mr Mbewe has meanwhile advised farmers to also consider planting the early maturing seeds during this year’s farming season saying this is because the onset of the rain season will be delayed.

He also called on farmers to take keen interest in following the daily weather updates that his department supplies to farmers via his office as well as on radio and online platforms such as Whatsapp.

Meanwhile, Central Province Minister, Credo Nanjuwa, has urged farmers in the province to embrace crop diversification and help contribute to the country’s food security.

Mr Nanjuwa said farmers should not overlook crop diversification, which he says is key to boosting food security for sustainable economic growth.

He said this in a speech read for him by Provincial Agricultural Officer (PACO, Alex Chilala, at this year’s provincial field day which took place at the Farmers’ Research Centre in Kabwe yesterday.

Mr Nanjuwa said government is promoting the growing of other crops such as millet, sorghum, soya beans, cassava which the country can export and earn foreign exchange.

The Minister said diversification will not only offer food security but also help improve the living standards of people in the country especially at household level.

University of Zambia Researcher from the Department of the School of Agricultural Sciences, Kelvin Kangwa, said it is vital for farmers to diversify to other crops because of the ever-changing weather conditions in the country.

Dr Kangwa said the weather patterns are unstable hence the need for farmers not to continue to grow maize only.

He observed that farmers could benefit more if they grew other income-generating crops.

He said his department has ventured into making drought and disease resistant seeds such as cowpeas, beans and pumpkin seeds which are good and early maturing seeds suitable for the fluctuating conditions.

He added that farmers should take interest in partnering with the Department of Agricultural Sciences at UNZA which is trying to assist them by coming up with activities that respond to climate change.

Meanwhile, farmers in Kabwe have appealed to the government to continue supporting them with various training especially those that border on crop diversification.

Sydney Muleya from Kawewe Farmers’ Cooperative said a number of farmers depend on maize growing because they lack adequate knowledge and resources on crop diversification.

Mr Muleya added that most farmers do not know the benefits of growing other crops other than maize especially that their only target market is the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).

He said there is therefore an urgent need for the Ministry of Agriculture to introduce extensive training that will help change the mindsets of farmers and promote sustainable economic empowerment through crop diversification.

1 COMMENT

  1. Mr Mbewe, you’re not in expert in farming. Give farmers information about the rain patterns which is your area of expertise and let farmers decide on when to plant.

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