Zimbabweans have been urged to plant drought tolerant crops in order to boost crop production in the country where more than 1,6 million people are currently facing starvation.
Agricultural experts say local people in dry regions should stop planting maize and cultivate crops like sorghum and millet.
One of the experts, Everson Ndlovu, who is also a development expert, said there is also need to conserve stock feed to cater for livestock up to next year.
“We are expecting rains though the met (meteorological) department is telling us that there needs to be some caution. I would advise farmers to use stock feed or whatever they have carefully so that it may last until the next season,” said Ndlovu.
He stressed that farmers in drought-prone areas should cultivate drought-tolerant crops as most arid regions normally face serious water shortages.
“I advise farmers to also till small plots because there is no use of tilling all the land. Let them till adequate space where they can easily mulch.
“At the same time they should change their attitudes in terms of crops being planted. This is an appeal to those farmers, especially in semi-arid and arid regions, let’s run away from maize, let’s embrace small grains like sorghum and millet.”
He further noted that farmers should also use conservation cultivation methods. They should also apply organic fertilizer instead of modern fertilizer which needs a lot of water. Use manure from cattle, goats, pigs, chicken and other domestic animals,” said Ndlovu.
There are thousands of farmers in the country that cannot access agricultural inputs due to poverty, lack of money and high costs of maize seed and related farming inputs.