By MAIMBO MWEEMBA
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has advised that the country needs to re-strategize on the type of crops farmers need to plant this farming season, considering the delayed rains that have caused a dry spell.
MDC Chairperson for Agriculture Dr Godfrey Bbalo said as it is, the country is in mid-December, and the possibility of serious rains is expected next week which would last utmost for three months or shorter.
Dr Bbalo said this entails that the 2021/2022 farming season should be planned on a two and a half months spell as a short term measure to ensure the country’s food security through a reasonable bumper harvest by farmers.
Dr Bbalo said Zambia being maize based, farmers cannot completely dwell on maize alone as they cultivate owing to the effects of climate change causing delayed rainfall activity.
“Those that will cultivate maize this farming season should seriously consider sourcing early and medium maturing varieties if they are to have a secure harvest because the country is not in a position to grow late maturing varieties especially in agro-ecological zones 1 and 2, I want to advise that those in agro-ecological zone number 1 should plant drought resistant crops such as cotton, millet and sorghum and those in agro-ecological zone number 2 should consider planting cotton, some sorghum and early maturing variety of maize,” he said.
Dr Bbalo said that farmers in agro-ecological zone number 3 should consider planting sorghum, early and medium maturing varieties of maize and cassava.
“Agro-ecological zone 1 covers the valley areas of the country, zone 2 covers Eastern, Central, Southern and Western provinces while zone 3 covers North Western, Copperbelt, Luapula, Northern and Muchinga provinces and that the zones receive 300 – 600 mm, 600-800 mm and 1,000 mm of rainfall per year respectively”.
“We are is not for the idea of depleting surface water through extensive irrigation activities at the moment owing to the dry spell but instead, this surface water should be preserved for livestock and other domestic use,” he said.
Dr Bbalo said there is need to prevent activities such as brick making or anything that removes surface water as this affects evaporation.
This is according to a Stament released by the UPND media team.