Natasha Chamba, Business Reporter
REGIONAL seed producer, SeedCo, says the prospect of normal rains in the 2019/20 summer cropping season should spur farmers into action, which would assist the country to achieve a bumper harvest.
Regional and local weather experts have predicted favourable weather conditions for the country and the Sadc, raising hopes of improved food production.
SeedCo managing director, Mr Denias Zaranyika, said his company hoped to do more seed sales on the basis of positive climate conditions.
“From the regional weather forecasters, we have learnt that Zimbabwe and other Southern African states will get normal rainfall patterns in the 2019/2020 season starting from next month to February, a move which will boost our seed business in all areas we operate in,” he said.
“Although some of our main customers have irrigation facilities at their farms, over 70 percent of the rural farming population depends on rain-fed agriculture and they are our customers hence we need good rains for more people to buy our seed.
“Good weather predictions are good for us as they give confidence to most farmers to carefully plan for the forthcoming agriculture season.
“Consequently, this translates to good business for us as more people would want to plant maize.”
Meteorological service experts have indicated that the weather patterns this year would be much better than last year’s as El Nino phenomenon, which resulted in widespread crop failure across the region.
Mr Zaranyika said good rainfall would also ensure that seed companies provide sufficient seed for farmers.
He said Zimbabwe needs close to 500 000 tonnes of maize seed every season.
“With good early rains expected in mid-October, most farmers are likely to plant early this year. This is good for our country at the moment, a bumper harvest is what we need,” he said.
Meanwhile, Government is targeting 210 000 hectares for maize and 30 000ha for soya bean under the Presidential Input Programme and a further 640 000ha for maize and small grains under support from the vulnerable groups.
Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union executive director, Mr Paul Zakariya, said good rainfall and higher yields would go a long way in assisting the country to save the much needed foreign currency.
“Good rainfall patterns are a timely boost for farmers as they have all the time in the world to plan for the upcoming season.
“Good weather patterns help the farmers to have sufficient yields for the country, which is mainly depended on importing,” he said.
“This will save the country a great deal of forex and empower a farmer to be a better entrepreneur.”
Mr Zakariya said a good agriculture season would help to turn around the country’s economic fortunes.
Agriculture is the mainstay of the country’s economy.