By Tanyaradzwa Mutizwa
Stakeholders in the agriculture sector have expressed preparedness in regard to the 2020/21 farming season especially after the announcement of the weather forecast by the meteorological department.

The Southern African horticulture seed producer Starke Ayres, Zimbabwe division Charter Seeds head of agronomy Mr Divarah Phiri in an interview yesterday expressed the company’s preparedness for the upcoming farming season with a wide range of hybrid vegetable seed varieties which will do well with the above normal rainfall predicted by the met department.

“At Charter Seeds we continue to breed seed varieties which suit the Zimbabwean climatic conditions and which are drought resistant and which are also resistant to pests and diseases like the Star 3317 and Kilimo which are an early maturing cabbage variety, the English Giant rape which is being praised by farmers across the country and the Ford hook Giant Swiss chard variety,” said Mr Phiri.

Mr Phiri said farming is a business and the only way for the farmer to succeed in this venture is to have the adequate information.
“There is need for stakeholder engagement in giving the farmer adequate information. Private sector companies such as Charter Seeds and Government departments such as the Agriculture Extension Services (AGRITEX) should partner and educate the farmers on the correct seed varieties to adopt in their different ecological region

“During a tour of the Midlands and Matabeleland Provinces recently, we realized that farmers are very keen on feeding the nation but there is a knowledge gap between the agronomists and the farmer because some of the farmers are lacking proper planning skills which forms the basis of the good agronomic practises,”Mr Phiri said.

Mr Phiri encouraged farmers to plan carefully for the 2020/21 farming season and to do a thorough land preparation and always have an alternative source of water.