The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
FARMERS have been urged to explore different rain water harvesting strategies that will aid them to improve productivity.
Speaking on rain water harvesting techniques during the second Agriculture Centres of Excellence (ACE) virtual field day, Agronomy Research Institute agronomist Mr Chova Muzamba said farmers should seek assistance on different rain water harvesting techniques.
He said farmers can opt for ripper tines, ridges, mulching and compare these to different tillage systems or water conservation technologies so that they can choose the best option for their region.
“Farmers should learn different technologies so that they can implement these wherever they are farming. As farmers they should be able to showcase different conservation technologies that can be implemented so that they achieve high yield.
“As farmers, also listen carefully to the weather reports so that you adopt a technology in line with rainfall received in your area,” said Mr Muzamba.
He further encouraged farmers to adopt these methods so that they can improve on how they divert, induce, collect, store and conserve water from runoff.
For farmers in semi-arid regions, Matopos Research Institute Agricultural Centre of Excellence (MACE) research officer Ms Olivia Mukondwa said they can opt for small grains.
She said small grains also had low risk of failure in the event of drought.
“Small grains have a lot of advantage over the usual cereals like maize that we are used to growing. For us farmers who are living in the semi-arid areas where rainfall is low and below 450mm, we encourage farmers to grow small grains because they have got a strong adaptive advantage.
“Besides their function as food crops, small grains are also used as cattle and chicken’s feed, forage and fodder. Small grains, such as sorghum and millet, require less water hence are important for present and future human use,” she said.
The second ACE virtual field day was organised by the Zimbabwe Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Services (Zakis) to assist farmers acquire all the necessary farming information and solutions as they work towards improving their productivity.
Zakis is part of a larger EU-funded Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) that was launched in the country in June 2019. The 40 million Euro initiative seeks to boost the beef, dairy, pig, goat and poultry production, complemented by Zakis which is mandated to work with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement to co-ordinate market-oriented education and extension services across the five value chains.