A persistent dry spell has once again hit the maize crop of Norwood farmers for the third year running. The crop, which was going to assist the famers with food and income withered and died before maturity despite the promising rains at the start of the faming season.
Norwood is in the peripheries of Bulawayo along Tsholotsho Road.
Speaking to this reporter, a farmer from the area, Mr David Moyo who retired from his marketing job to take up farming fulltime said the season started very well and a lot of resources including were committed in ensuring that the yields are high.
‘The season started very well in November as we received good rains. We hired tractors to till this piece of land and we planted our seed. The growth of the crops was very good as germination was almost a hundred percent but thereafter, we did not get any rains and this dry spell has persisted for the past three years,’ he said.
Government of Zimbabwe has already declared the 2011-2012 farming a disaster. The drought shall see a hike in the price of mealie-meal as very few famers managed to see their maize crops maturing.
The hike in the price of mealie-meal shall present serious challenges to Zimbabweans most of whom earn less than US$1.50 a day.
Government pledges to provide aid to Zimbabweans. Addressing thousands of Zimbabweans at this year’s Independence celebrations, President Robert Mugabe said the government is committed to providing food to all the Zimbabweans.
‘Government is aware this year that while the early raised initially raised the prospects of a good harvest, many parts of the country subsequently succumbed to the devastating dry spellâŠGovernment has accordingly decided that the grain loan scheme and the free assistance program will be extended,’ the President said.
While some have questioned the transparency of the grain distribution program, others have called on the government and donors to assist farmers with funds to drill boreholes for irrigation. This, they say will be the solution to the effects caused by the successive droughts.