By Ruvimbo Chatyoka
GOVERNMENT has initiated a pasture development programme through the Presidential Livestock Inputs Scheme, which is meant to improve livestock nutrition in drought-prone districts of the country.
The programme is targeting five (5) provinces, namely: Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Midlands and Manicaland.
Moreover, Government will accelerate rehabilitation of existing irrigation infrastructure and the development of new irrigation infrastructure, where water bodies are available, including reviewing communal irrigation models to improve water and irrigation infrastructure management and transform farming from subsistence to market-oriented business, which is in line with the policy of one damper district and 200 hectares.
Recently the government approved the 1st Round Crop and Livestock Assessment Report: 2020-2021 season, which will assess the availability, accessibility and usage of inputs; assess the quality of the rainfall season, the crop growth stages and crop condition.
The crop condition was generally fair to good. Area planted under maize increased by 24% to 1.9 million hectares from 1.5m ha.
The 2020/2021 season 1st Round Crop and Livestock Assessment was undertaken from 28 January 2021 to 10 February 2021, while the verification exercise by national teams took place from 10 – 23 February 2021
Moreover, the 2nd assessment will also look into grazing and livestock condition, water supply, disease prevalence and control; however, the condition of livestock was generally fair to good during the assessment period and was expected to continue improving due to the good condition of grazing currently available.
Furthermore, the assessment will ascertain the areas planted under major crops and determine the factors that influenced the area planted.
The government highlighted that the second crop assessment results will be unveiled in mid-April 2021. It is envisaged that the assessment will be improved once capacitation of grassroots staff is completed and the Agriculture Information Management System is operationalized.
Zimbabwe is expecting a bumper harvest in the wake of improved rainfall compared to prior seasons whereby farming seasons were characterised by prolonged droughts, cyclones and most recently the COVID- 19 pandemic.
By Ruvimbo Chatyoka