The unpredictable rainfall pattern has seen some parts especially in Mashonaland East witnessing floods while Mashonaland West is experiencing dry patches.
Matinetsa Kamurayi is a peasant farmer under Chief Chirau near Murombedzi who has lost hope to get better yields this farming season. She looks dejected as her two hectare plot of maize at knee height is wilting away due to high temperatures at her homestead.
She says the rains have been unpredictable and therefore as a result the farm inputs being distributed under the Presidential scheme are coming in late for people to start re-planting. She says inputs should have been distributed last August for proper planning.
“If this input scheme was meant to boost production, then it should have come earlier,” Daniel Matore of Chikaka village, a stone’s throw away from President Robert Mugabe’s homestead at Kutama agrees with Kamurayi.
Villagers here have been relying on food handouts.In December last year United Nations’ World Food Programme was seeking US$268 to help 1.45 million Zimbabweans facing starvation.
Unlike Kamurayi and Matore, Takemore Dzapera of Tengwe Estate would have had something to smile about had it not that irrigation pipes in his area were vandalised.
“…We have water at our dam here but underground irrigation pipes were vandalised and we cannot irrigate any crops here. We are witnessing the effects of vandalism that heightened during farm invasions. It is sad for us.”
Zimbabwe farmers planted 247 000 hectares of maize down from 379 993 last year due to late rains according to Agricultural Extension Services. Deputy agriculture minister Seiso Moyo admits it is a bad year.
However, Finance Minister Tendai Biti set aside US$15 million to rehabilitate 56 irrigation schemes throughout the country of which Biri irrigation scheme is among the beneficiaries.