The 2023 planting season beckons, with above-average rains expected in the Northern parts of Zimbabwe
By Caroline Chiimba
The Southern Africa Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF 26) predicted that Zimbabwe is among African countries that are likely to receive good rainfall in the 2022/23 agricultural season, with farmers expected to start planting their 2023 summer cereal crops this month.
The prospect of good rainfall according to SARCOF26 is expected to improve the food security situation as the region continues to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as protracted droughts and cyclonic systems that had affected agricultural production in most member states over the past few years.
“The areas that are likely to receive good rainfall throughout the rainfall season spanning October 2022 to March 2023 are central Mozambique, southern Malawi, northern half of Zimbabwe, most of Zambia, southern DRC, south-eastern half of Angola, bulk of Namibia, western half of Botswana, most of central and western parts of South Africa, and western parts of Lesotho,” SARCOF 26 said.
“The regional outlook is however only relevant to seasonal timescales and relatively large areas and may not fully account for all local and intra-seasonal factors that influence climate variability.”
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), also highlighted that the country is expected to receive above-average rainfall amounts forecast for 2022/23 cropping season, with the same rainfall pattern expected in most countries in the SADC region.
“Planting of the 2023 cereal crops will begin in October 2022 and the harvest is expected to start in May next year. Current weather forecasts point to a higher-than-normal likelihood of above-average rainfall amounts between October 2022 and March 2023, boosting production prospects,” FAO said in its country brief released this month.
The UN organ however warned that despite a good summer rain season expected in Zimbabwe, the high prices of agricultural inputs, including fertilisers, seed and fuel, were going to increase production costs and reduce application rates, with a likely adverse impact on farmers’ planting intentions and yields.
Speaking to this publication, an A1 farmer Rosemary Machafa said she is in the process of preparing the land for planting summer crops so that when the rain comes, she will be set to plant.
“Since the weather forecast has predicted good rainfall in this part of the country, we are confident to make the best out of the season despite fertiliser and farming inputs challenges. The economy is currently unfriendly but we are hoping to sail through. At least the good rains news is what we hope for.”