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Dry Spell Devastates Zimbabwe, Other Southern African Nations

  • Gibbs Dube

Most crops have wilted in Zimbabwe due to moisture stress owing to lack of rains. (Photo: Butholezwe Kgosi Nyathi)

Most southern African nations, including Zimbabwe, have been devastated by a serious dry spell that has resulted in the wilting of crops, raising fears of a crippling regional famine.

Zimbabwean state officials say almost 75 percent of crops in the nation’s southern region are now a write-off and some parts of the country may record low yields due to above-normal rains, which resulted in localized flooding in Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, and Manicaland provinces.

The floods led to leaching and the destruction of early-planted crops. According to United Nations estimates, about 500 of the 1,200 households impacted by the flooding are in urgent need of assistance.

Zimbabwe has already given private millers a green-light to import maize for domestic consumption. The country needs more than 2 million tonnes of maize every year and an additional 500,000 as strategic reserves.

Director of the Meteorological Services, Tichaona Zinyemba, tells Studio 7’s Gibbs Dube the erratic rainfall pattern can be linked to climate variability.

Chief Mtshana Khumalo of Bubi District, Matabeleland North province, says the crop situation is devastating.

Development worker, Everson Ndlovu, echoes the same sentiments, adding that there is need for Zimbabwe to revive irrigation schemes.