Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent

THE prospect of good rains has excited farmers who are already busy on the land following recent downpours amid hopes of a bumper harvest this season under the Government’s Intwasa/Pfumvudza programme.

The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) has predicted normal to above normal rains during the 2020/21 farming season. Crops and Livestock Officer, Mrs Medline Magwenzi, said farmers in the Midlands province, for instance, farmers have started receiving inputs for both Intwasa/Pfumvudza with tilling already underway before planting.

“Land preparation is ongoing across the province. It actually started in July when the Intwasa/Pfumvudza agriculture recovery plan was introduced. Most farmers are doing the Intwasa/Pfumvudza plots, which are 16m by 39m times 3,” she said.

“The plots are found everywhere especially in A1s, communal areas, old and new resettlements, A2s and commercial farms. Conventional farmers are also doing tillage using livestock and tractors.

“We, however, encourage those using livestock to ensure that they are in good health for ploughing as we are coming from a prolonged dry period.”

Mrs Magwenzi expressed satisfaction with the distribution of inputs and applauded the Government for its farmer support schemes such as Command Agriculture and the Presidential Input Support. A number of irrigation schemes in the province are also expected to perform better as most of them have been rehabilitated.

“The province has various irrigation schemes of which many of them are being resuscitated giving great hope to communal irrigation farmers. Exchange Irrigation has already put down 30 hectares of green mealies. Insukamini Irrigation is also doing well to mention only but a few,” she said.

“Commercial farmers are already getting ready, some scooping their dams, repairing irrigation equipment and mechanical equipment. Basically, for now the underground water is very low but we are hopeful to receive adequate rains during the period that will boost the water tables.”

The Met Department has said that the La-Nina climate pattern is associated with heavy rains. While the country has started to receive rains, MSD has encouraged farmers to consult Agritex officials before planting.