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Zimbabwe Develops Plan to Deal with Potential El Nino

September 5, 2018

Faced with the potential of a major El Niño ahead, the government of Zimbabwe is taking serious action to protect the country for potential agricultural shortfalls which might happen.

With the country’s 2018-19 rainfall forecast showing normal to below-normal rainfall, the country could be looking at major food supply shortages in the coming year.

In a conversation with Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri on September 3, some “pre-emptive action” would be needed to protect the country and its people.

Part of those plans are to dramatically accelerate construction of irrigation infrastructure in the country.

Another step will be to require more small grains to be grown by the farmers. As Minister Shiri said, “A2 farmers shall be required to grow at least 10 hectares of sorghum or mhunga for the larger A2 holdings while the smaller holdings are expected to grow at least two hectares of either crop. These must be the human edible forms of either sorghum or mhunga varieties. The communal and AI sub-sectors must grow at least 0.5 hectares of these small grains.”

As an additional strategy, the government plans to ask farmers to plant a third of their crops when rains start this year, followed by a second third in mid-December and a final third after Christmas. As Shiri said, “This would help farmers to spread their risk over the rainfall season. Such an approach has worked in the past.”

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