President Mnangagwa yesterday met International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) director-general Dr Martin Kropff and discussed ways of enhancing agricultural productivity in the face of erratic rains expected in the 2018-19 farming season.
Zimbabwe faces an El Nino induced drought after the 2018-19 seasonal rainfall forecast pointed to normal rains with a bias towards below normal throughout the season. Speaking after meeting Mnangagwa and Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri, Dr Kropff said there were many ways of minimising the effects of El Nino. Said Kropff:
The President did indicate that this year they expect a new El Nino. We have materials, drought-tolerant maize varieties that give much better yields even in drought conditions. We have also heat-tolerant maize varieties. We also have technology like conservation agriculture with which you can have much better yields. We have to work on this together with the minister and his team. You need research and also smallholder farmers need seeds and small-scale mechanisation. We do this in Asia, America and many African countries. We are glad we have a team of 70 specialists in your country.