Mixed fortunes for 2022/2023 farming season

By Ilanga Chief Reporter

THERE are mixed responses to the 2022/2023 cropping season as some farmers from the
northern parts of Gwanda District anticipate bumper harvests, while those from the southern part
of the same district have given up on any hopes from their farm fields.
For Gwanda North, the recent rains that pounded last week brought a sigh of relief as their crops,
which were showing signs of wilting sprung back to life, giving the farmers hope.
Contrary to farmers in the norther part of the district, those from Gwanda South have given up
hopes of a successful agricultural season, saying their crops are beyond resuscitation while some
did not even attempt to till their fields due to the prolonged and perennial dry spell usually
experienced by the district and province.
Areas like Garanyemba Bethel, Fumugwe, Gungwe, Halusupi, Mlambapeli and Sukwi have not
received decent rains and crops continue to show signs of moisture stress and wilting.
Some farmers in Gwanda North are planting maize, sunflower and soya beans, while others have
taken advantage of the rains to apply top dressing fertilizers.
Farmers in Nsindi, who planted their crops on virgin land are weeding using herbicides.
An Nsindi based farmer, who identified himself as Sgaqa, expressed happiness and was
confident of a bumper harvest following the rains last week.
“I have no doubt that I will make it again this season, as you can see how good my maize field is.

“We did dry planting in mid-November last year and it seems to be paying dividends. Already,
three quarters of my maize crop is at tasseling stage,” explained the farmer.
Sikhumbuzo Moyo from Masholomoshe Village in Gwanda North echoed similar sentiments
with Sgaqa saying besides irrigated maize, they had already started eating fresh maize from
“To some of us this is a good farming season.
“Those of us who planted as early as in November are already enjoying the fruits of hard work,”
boasted Moyo.
However, in Gwanda South the situation is totally different.
Ward 14 Councillor, Phineas Maphosa, said food aid would be needed during the first quarter of
the year.
“The rains disappointed a lot of farmers in Gwanda South. Those who had planted, their crops
have been hit by moisture stress and will not recover while others did not even attempt to till
their fields due to prolonged dry spell in our area.
“We are appealing to the Government and our partners to come to our rescue in terms of food
“The situation is dire for people although pastures for livestock are promising but will not last
until mid-year if the rains disappear early,” said the Councillor.
Experts say the crop and livestock situation in Matabeleland South Province is generally fair
although some districts have not received rains in the last few days, putting crops in danger.
Acting provincial director of Agricultural Development and Advisory Services, Mkhunjulelwa
Ndlovu, said his department would continue to monitor the situation.
The early planted crop could be at risk if rains delay because the crop is approaching early
reproductive stages. The crop that was planted late is still in a relatively good condition.
“In terms of Pfumvudza/Intwasa plots, these are still in good condition and generally fair across
the province, although the maize crop is highly vulnerable,” said Ndlovu.
In terms of livestock, the small stock has greatly improved while cattle in other districts,
especially Insiza, Matobo, Bulilima, Gwanda, Umzingwane and Mangwe’s northern parts are
showing great improvements.
Pastures remain a challenge in some parts of Gwanda, Beitbridge and Matobo.
Matabeleland South falls largely under the agricultural Region 5 and the meteorological Region
3. In most cases, farmers need anything above 450mm of rain in a season for crops to do well.

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