Dry spell worries ZNFU

Maize field farm.

ZAMBIA National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) says the dry spell that is being experienced in some parts of the country, particularly in Eastern Province, is likely to negatively affect the crop harvest this year.
For the past three weeks, the area has been experiencing a dry spell causing panic among maize farmers.
ZNFU regional manager Michael Mambwe said some farmers in the province will be negatively affected due to the dry spell being experienced if the situation does not change.
Mr Mambwe said this in an interview on Friday that, “We [ZNFU] do not expect a bumper harvest in this year’s agricultural marketing season due to the dry spell being experienced,” Mr Mambwe said in an interview on Friday.
However, farmers who are practicing conversation farming are expected to harvest more maize unlike those who do not.
He said maize in the fields is wilting as a result of the dry spell, a situation which could have been avoided had most farmers practised conservation farming.
Conservation farming helps to keep moisture content, in turn helps crops grow even when there is a dry spell.
Mr Mambwe urged farmers to embrace conservation farming, which does not easily get affected by dry spells and climate change.
He, however, said most farmers planted early after getting inputs on time hence the union is not worried about the yields.
Similarly, TRYNESS MBALE reports from Lusaka that the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) cited Chadiza, Chipata and Lundazi as some areas that have continued to experience  a dry spell which has affected the country close to a month now.
The union says a number of fields have since shown signs of crop wilting for maize at the stage of tussling.
Some fields visited by ZNFU have revealed that farmers practising conventional tillage methods have mostly been affected by the extreme weather conditions compared to farmers using conservation farming techniques whose crop is showing signs of resilience to drought.

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