Farmers in drier regions of the country have been urged to plant small grains which are more drought tolerant.
A Chipinge farmer, Charles Sithole Mhlahlayazi of Chinyamukwakwa in Chipinge South (Ward 26), is expecting a bumper harvest from his sorghum crop.
Mhlahlayazi said he grew a new red sorghum seed variety – Rakodzi – on his 10-hectare plot and is expecting between four and five tonnes per hectare.
Speaking during a field day hosted by seed breeders, Klein Karoo (K2) Seed Marketing Company at his farm recently, Mhlahlayazi said:
The idea of growing this type of sorghum came after listening to a radio programme from a local radio station.
From what I heard during the programme, I did not hesitate to grow the red sorghum variety despite some discouragements from fellow farmers.
I went to local shops where I bought a 10kg bag of seeds. I got basic knowledge on how to grow it since no one had ever tried it here.
Despite receiving low rainfall this season, my crop performed very well. I am expecting more than four tonnes per hectare. I am expecting high returns on my investment.
The producer price for a tonne of sorghum is pegged at $70 263 and the red sorghum is in great demand, especially from those in the brewing industry.
Speaking at the same event, K2 regional manager, Petros Nyamande outlined the advantages the new sorghum seed variety has for farmers. He said:
Farmers in areas that received low rainfall should grow this variety to ensure food security. lt is also in high demand from breweries.
The crop cannot be attacked by birds like other small grains and once it germinates, you cannot make losses.
Chipinge South MP, Enock Porusingazi (ZANU PF), called on farmers to work closely with experts from seed companies to get the correct varieties for their respective areas.