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Met Department forecasts erratic rains

Story by Theophilus Chuma

METEOROLOGICAL experts have predicted erratic and low rainfall patterns this year prompted by Elnino conditions which will affect Southern Africa as a result of climate change.

Zimbabwe like the rest of other Southern African nations once again faces the realities of climate change in the coming summer cropping season.

According to the latest seasonal rainfall forecast issued by the Meteorological Services Department, the first half of the rainfall season will be characterised by normal to below-normal rainfall.

“For the 2023/2024 seasonal rainfall outlook the country is expected to receive normal to below normal rainfall. This means that these are rainfalls that these areas usually receive in most years but with a bias to below normal,” said the Deputy Director of Meteorology, Climate and Seismology Ms Tamburiro Pasipanodya.

“The exception to this is for Region 2 areas that is Matabeleland North, parts of Matabeleland South, Midlands and Mashonaland West. In these areas for the first half of the season which is October, November, and December, we are expecting these areas to be below normal rainfall. We are expecting the rains to be erratic which means the distribution in time will not be very good.”

The weather patterns have been triggered by Elnino conditions which will see temperatures rising in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the western part of the Indian Ocean.

While the conditions spell a real threat to yields, farmers are already formulating resilience systems.

“In a year like that, we need to prepare ourselves, prepare for less rainfall, and extreme weather events. An Elnino does not mean that people must not produce, there are concepts that we need to be friendly with such as climate proofing and efficiently utilising the moisture that we have,” said Zimbabwe Farmers Union’s Secretary General, Mr Paul Zakaria.

The government is also prioritising irrigation and dam construction as key measures to climate-proof the agricultural sector.

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