Elita Chikwati, Harare Bureau
THE government has advised local extension officers to work closely with farmers and impart important agricultural techniques to save them from getting wrong advice from commentators, a Cabinet Minister has said.
The warning comes after concerns were raised that people who did not have adequate information on farming were telling farmers what to do, causing confusion in the process.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made yesterday said there were too many commentators on agriculture who were misinforming farmers.
“This is the time farmers should pay attention to knowledgeable agronomists from Agritex and seed houses to deal with crop husbandry issues as they’ve experience and will be on the ground,” he said.
“Local extension officers should be with the farmers answering their questions and offering advice on weather patterns. Already, some areas have received rain, so the extension officer on the ground is able to give the correct advice on what is happening in that specific area.
“Farmers need advice on moisture retention technologies, time of planting, fertiliser application and weeding.”
Dr Made advised farmers to stagger planting to spread the risk in case of drought.
“Farmers should work closely with the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) and cloud seeding should take the centre stage. We shouldn’t faulter on that,” he said.
The MSD has predicted normal to below normal rainfall during the 2015/16 season and farmers are advised to grow early maturing crop varieties and small grains that perform better under dry conditions.