30 per cent of the maize crop in Manicaland Province has been written off following a prolonged dry spell while 50 per cent of the crop is at the temporary wilting point and needs meaningful rains by mid-next week to be resuscitated.
Manicaland last received meaningful rains on 4 February and as a result, even drought-tolerant small grains are succumbing to the heatwave.
Manicaland Provincial Agritex Officer, Philipa Rwambiwa, told The Manica Post that in Mutare and Buhera districts, lower parts of Chipinge, as well as the western parts of Chimanimani and Mutasa, most of the maize crop has reached the permanent wilting point. She said:
As we speak, about 30 per cent of the maize crop has been written off. It has reached the permanent wilting point, and even it rains now that crop cannot be salvaged.
Even the traditional grains that are more tolerant to these conditions are also being affected.
We require rainfall as soon as yesterday as the crops are not looking very good.
Temporary wilting happens when it gets hot and the crop shows signs of wilting, but when it’s sunset and early in the morning, it gets back to normal.
At this point, 50 per cent of the remaining crop can be resuscitated, but the yield will be reduced.
Crops at this point can still be rejuvenated if it rains between now and early next week.
Only 20 per cent of the province’s crops, including those under irrigation, are in good condition. The crops in Natural Region One are still good.
Regions One and Two cover some parts of Headlands, Odzi, Vumba, Nyazura, parts of Nyanga, Mutasa and upper Chipinge.