Features

Compelled to diversify crop

EUNICE Wakuka fetches water from a borehole for her one hectare tobacco field two kilometres away in Kalumwange settlement in Kaoma, Western Province. PICTURE: FRANCIS LUNGU

FRANCIS LUNGU, Lusaka
IN THESE times of unpredictable weather patterns, peasant farmers like Eunice Wakuka of Kalumwange settlement, 77km north-west of Kaoma district, have turned to labour-intensive but drought-resistant crops such as tobacco.
For Ms Wakuka, although tobacco calls for more hours of attention, it is a better option than maize because it requires moderate rainfall as it grows successfully under tropical, subtropical and temperate climates.
According to climate and crop experts, tobacco requires an annual rainfall distribution of between 500m to 1,250mm. Excess water may result in the plant becoming thin and flaky.
Tobacco should be ripening without heavy rainfall and normally requires about 100 to 120 days, frost-free climate with an average temperature of 20 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius between transplanting and harvesting.
With these climate parameters, which seem to be favourable for Ms Wakuka, during the last cropping season from November to January, she first opted to start watering her one hectare tobacco field in anticipation of the rains.http://epaper.daily-mail.co.zm/

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