Kiyapili Sibanda, Business Reporter
SEED houses should produce more small grain seed varieties to supply communities in drought-prone regions four and five so as to assist in improving food production.
Speaking during a small grains field day held in Umzingwane district on Tuesday, Caritas Zimbabwe development co-ordinator for the Archdiocese of Bulawayo, Mr Welcome Sibanda, said the reality of climate change calls for innovative approaches to addressing food security.
He said growing small grains has been proven to be an effective model in areas that receive low rainfall.
“The Government should assist these communities with specific types of seed varieties for drought stricken areas as this will help agricultural sustainability. These areas have low rainfall patterns but there are crops like sorghum and millet, which thrive well under these conditions,” said Mr Sibanda.
Caritas Zimbabwe is working with the Umzingwane communities to roll out a small grains growing project. Most farmers who joined the initiative have said the crop was doing well. Most parts of Matabeleland region and Masvingo fall under region four and five, which receive minimal rainfall.
Mr Sibanda said his organisation was working in collaboration with the Government to offer technical and extension expertise to farmers to help them produce enough food using rain and irrigation cropping.
Agritex acting district extension officer Mr Thelani Ncube also said growing drought tolerant crops in the region was commendable. He said small grains like sorghum were not affected by the army worm that destroyed maize crops.
“Sorghum was not affected by the army worm which destroyed many crops around the country. Growing such crops is commendable. Health institutions are on a campaign telling people to eat healthy food like sorghum and millet because it has no side effects and has got good health benefits,” said Mr Ncube.
Meanwhile, lead farmer, Miss Lungile Ngwenya, who walked away with a plough from Caritas, said she was happy with the prize she got as this would help her continue planting drought resistant crops like sorghum.
“I am very happy with Caritas giving me this plough as a lead farmer in this region. It will help me further my farming in these crops. I also urge the Government to support us with seed varieties for small grain crops as they did to Command Agriculture farmers. This will help us a lot in this region because maize is not favourable for these climatic conditions,” she said.