Prolonged Drought Sparks Hunger Fears
Zimbabwe may experience food shortages due to a long dry spell that is currently prevailing across the country with reports indicating that some areas did not receive rainfall in the whole month of February.
Farmers’ groups say that even if significant rains are received now, some of the cereals have reached the permanent wilting point.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) president Shadreck Makombe has described the crop situation as “a disaster”. Said Makombe:
The dry spell has disastrously affected farmers. Things are not looking good here.
Most crops as we speak now have wilted because we have not received rain for a long time.
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Even if the rains come, they will not recover. It’s really a disaster.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) operations director Prince Kuipa said yields could potentially fall by between 30-40%. He said:
It has affected crop growth and development. Most crops are showing signs of wilting and distress.
We anticipate that the production levels of 2021-22 are going to be lowered. But we are going to have a significant loss.
It could be anything around 30-40% that we could lose that crop if dry spells proceed.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Climate and Rural Resettlement ministry secretary John Bhasera acknowledged that the 2021/22 summer season has been “tricky”. He said:
These dry spells are the signs and signals that climate change is a real reality. This has been a tricky season because of climate change.
We had a false start to the season but after the false start, it later on started very well, although it was a late-season it’s not a lost season.
The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) projected normal to above normal rainfall in both the first and second half of the 2021/2022 cropping season but there has been no meaningful rainfall activity for much of February.