Veld fire destroys Arda Antelope wheat
By Providence Maraneli
ARDA’s Antelopes potential bumper winter wheat harvest is under threat after the estate lost a hectare of its seed crop to veld fire.
Matabeleland South’s biggest irrigation scheme is counting losses after a veld fire that broke out on Friday, spreading into the farm and destroying a part of the seed crop.
Estate Manager, Aleck Chinyayi told ZBCnews that the fire broke out in the morning and destroyed a seed crop with an estimated value of US$5 000.
“A fire just broke out across the fence and because the wheat is ready for harvest it didn’t take time for it to catch fire and we had to rush with the workers and put it out, we have lost almost a hectare of the seed crop.”
Agriculture experts have urged irrigation schemes to guard against veld fires.
“We urge farmers to guard against fire because this is an important crop that has been lost. This is a seed crop that is going to help us increase our area of wheat next season and farmers need to be on the lookout for fire incidences as they can destroy the crop at the critical stage,” said Mukunjulelwa Ndlovu, Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water Fisheries and Rural Development, Acting Provincial Director.
ARDA Antelope is one of the biggest irrigation schemes in Matabeleland South province with over 500 hectares under commercial wheat, 180 hectares of wheat seed, and 56 hectares of potatoes.