Farming regions set to change

HARARE - Zimbabwe is set to change its mapping of farming regions because of the effects of global warming and climate change, says Joseph Made, the minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.

Speaking during the unveiling of a new maize seed, Sirdamaize 113, in Harare yesterday, Made said the mapping of farming regions should be changed as their climate has altered due to global warming.

“Very soon we are going to call for an important meeting where will unveil the re-drawing of the country’s farming regions. Due to global warming and climate change effects there is need to change our farming regions so that we can be able to attain food and nutrition security,” Made said.

During the last farming year there was drought in Matabeleland, Masvingo, Midlands, Manicaland and some parts of Mashonaland, Made said.

Recently, the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Zimvac) rural livelihood assessment revealed that the number of people in need of food assistance increased by 600 000 from last year to 1,6 million this year.

Zimvac is a joint government-donor food assessment programme.

Currently Zimbabwe has five farming regions.

Acting President Joice Mujuru, who officially launched the seed variety, welcomed the move and implored agricultural researchers to come up with more innovative products that can mitigate drought.

“Allow me to especially urge farmers in marginal rainfall and drought-prone areas to adopt drought tolerant maize seed varieties such as Sirdamaize 113 in their plans for the coming planting season as this will guarantee better yields and improve food security at both household and national levels,” Mujuru said.

Sirdamaize 113, produced by the quasi-government arm Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre, is drought tolerant and can survive major foliar diseases such as maize streak virus, grey leaf spot and maize rust.

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