Don’t plant early: experts

Weather experts have warned farmers against planting crops as the ongoing wet spell does not necessarily signify the beginning of the rainy season.

In spite of the recent rain, experts have warned locals not to start planting.
In spite of the recent rain, experts have warned locals not to start planting.

“The rains are just first rains known as “Bumharutsva” in Shona and do not signify the onset of the rainy season,” said the senior meteorological officer, Jonathan Chefuna.

A survey in and around Harare revealed that many local women had begun the back-breaking task of stream bank cultivation. Nyarai Hondo from Dzivarasekwa said urban agriculture supplemented her income.

“I have been ploughing this piece of land since 1989. I used to come to here with my children now I bring my grandchildren along. Throughout the years urban agriculture has been my source of food supplement. I do not have to worry about mealie-meal throughout the year,” she said.

Peri -urban agriculture has been so prevalent that sporadic fights over land ownership have occurred, with a recent squabble occurring between an apostolic sect and some urban farmers in Glen View. It was alleged that the apostolic church had taken over the land which belonged to one of the farmers.

“Agriculture practices take place in open spaces reserved for future residential, industrial or commercial use. Most methods used to acquire land do not guarantee security of tenure, with authorities claiming the land whenever they see fit,” said an analyst.

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