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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Sugarcane farmers challenged to embrace new farming technologies

Story by Gay Matambo

Sugarcane farmers in Maranatha area of Chiredzi district have been challenged to embrace new farming technologies that can mitigate climate change and promote food security.

Sugar cane farming is mainly done under irrigation in Zimbabwe, and the call for farmers to be pro-active and to mordenise their agricultural methods comes as farmers are failing to irrigate their crop sufficiently following the breakdown of a weir which was destroyed by Cyclone Japhet in 2003.

The Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Honourable Davis Marapira said it is critical for the sugar cane outgrowers to invest in modern irrigation equipment so that water for irrigation is readily accessible.

“We are trying to make farmers see that they now own the weir because the weir was constructed by the farmer who was irrigating the same sugarcane which they are irrigating. We want the farmers to come together and contribute money for the repair of the weir. The President talks of mordenisation everyday. The pumps being used here are 50 years old because of that they will chew electricity, pump less water and create problems, so farmers here should prioritise modernising their irrigation facilities,” he said.

Sugarcane farmers who spoke to the ZBC News crew concurred that roping in modern farming techniques in sugarcane production is the way to go as it will increase yields while reducing operating costs.

Said one farmer, “The solution to some of these challenges is to use solar energy because as you can see, the water in the dam is there today, but there is no electricity to pump it. So, if we mordenise our farming practices I think we will be home and dry.”

“With this current heatwave, the crops need water and the main challenge we have is we do not have reliable source of water for irrigation and hopefully, if this challenge is addressed, we will have a breakthrough,” added another.

To effect irrigation development, the government is spearheading the construction of 12 high impact dams that will modernise the agricultural sector in line with the national drive to establish a modern, sustainable and climate smart agricultural sector.

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