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Bumper harvest on the way

Who knew what God had in store for us coming from a drought where continuation would have meant inevitable, all round disaster? Imagination of what could have been another dry season, is enough to bring realisation of the meaning of hopelessness. One can only appreciate intervention of grace and the magic of higher power that exists beyond our comprehension to be able to witness the abundance of this precious component called rain. Its availability can simply and undeniably determine life or death for it has no substitute.

gardening with Doreen Badze

Zimbabwe is expecting a bumper harvest
Zimbabwe is expecting a bumper harvest

Looking at the maize crop in the peri-urban areas gives an indication of what is out there in the farms and rural areas. Amazing is one word that describes it. Maize crop that was planted with the onset of the first rains is almost ripening now. I am referring to maize because that is our staple food, otherwise there are many other crops out there doing well too. Without maize, many people would starve.

On the other hand, there are other places that experienced too much rains which affected their crops, especially where small grains were grown, like finger millet, rapoko or sorghum. Naturally, these do well under below average rainfall. With the expected bumper harvest on the way, food would circulate smoothly and hunger would decrease significantly. Command agriculture encouraged by the government and coinciding with a good rainy season, contributed significantly to the yield.

It was recently said on the news that the Ministry of Agriculture was beginning to make preparations for proper storage of maize by making sure all repairs are done on storage facilities throughout the country, getting ready to handle a major influx of grain.

I had the opportunity to research on what farmers need to know about the safe use of chemicals that will protect their grain from weevils. In my research, I was able to get information on the tablets that people use with no proper knowledge of correct use. These fumigants I am referring to are called Aluminium Phosphide tablets. These are most misunderstood, according to agrochemical sales people. Given the information I have of how toxic they can be if misused, I am not sure why they end up in the farmer’s possession when the latter knows nothing about their correct use. The following is information I read under directions for use and storage on this restricted pesticide;

*It is a violation of the law to use the above product in a manner inconsistent with its labelling.
*This product is for use against insects which infest stored commodities, and for control of burrowing pests. The tablets have been found effective against many stored product insects and their pre adult stages – that is eggs, larvae, and pupae.
*The use of this product is strictly prohibited on residential properties.
*Do not store in buildings where humans or domestic animals reside.
*Store this product under lock and key.

These pills are being seen handled by people who have no idea how to use them. The tablets can release phosphine gas that is highly toxic to humans. My understanding is that they are supposed to be used by millers with large grain storages or silos, but individuals are buying and taking them home where storage is compromised. Agrochemical stores are selling this product and in my opinion, they should do so responsibly. To farmers, I say it is also your responsibility to buy chemicals that you have an understanding of their functions. Your health and the health of your workers is important, so take time to be knowledgeable of the proper use of chemicals used in the farming world. I will continue to explore other chemicals used to protect your grain.

This week in our nursery, we have the following seedlings; rape hobson, tsunga paida, cabbage star 3316, lettuce commander and covo hybrid rugare.

Those interested in joining our farming group can do so via WhatsApp on number below.

Happy gardening week!

Doreen Mutobaya Badze is a retired nurse and passion driven gardener who can be reached on cell: 079730880 or 16 Metcalf Road, Greendale, Harare. Email: dbadze4@gmail.com Facebook Page: Badze Garden Nursery.

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