Home » Business » Grow Drought-Resistant Maize, Farmers Urged

Farmers have been urged to adopt drought-resistant maize varieties to counter the effects of persistent droughts and erratic rainfall patterns caused by climate change. One such drought-resistant maize seed variety, which is also tolerant to diseases, is the Sirdamaize 113 developed locally by the Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre (SIRDC).

Speaking at a field day held in Chikomba last week, SIRDC director of works and physical planning Mr Bernard Makokobe said using drought-resistant maize varieties would ensure better yields and reduce the effects of drought.

“Our team at SIRDC did a research and came up with this seed variety which is drought resistant. So we are aocating that each district in the country have a pilot project so that more farmers adopt it,” he said.

“In this age of climate change, we are guaranteed of better yields since this kind of seed variety can survive in the sun as we have witnessed here in Chikomba where we did one of our projects.”

Mr Makokobe said if farmers took up the initiative, it would reduce maize imports as more maize would be grown locally where one hectare could produce up to six tonnes.

“We have had our first pilot project in Hwedza district last year where each farmer who used our seed on one hectare produced six tonnes of maize per hectare. There is no need for a large piece of land,” he said.

According to a report released by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)recently, Zimbabwe is forecast to double maize imports this year following a poor rainy season which affected production in parts of the country.

Zimbabwe requires an estimated 1,8 million tonnes of maize for domestic consumption and livestock feed, but last year produced about 1,4 million tonnes of maize. That was up from the 958 000 tonnes produced in the previous season.

More than 100 witnessed SIRDC’s project in Chikomba where the Kandira family grew the drought-resistant maize variety.

Mr Edmore Kandira, the farmer who won the district’s farmers’ competition, said his family was expecting 10 tonnes from the two hectares they planted and urged youths to participate in farming activities.

Source : The Herald