Farmers in Zimbabwe Need to Diversify Their Crop Rotations Beyond Maize
Zimbabwean farmers have been faced with failed maize harvests over the past years. Because of this, both the government in Zimbabwe and other aid organizations are encouraging maize producers to plant alternative grains.
This is a challenge given there are limited seeds, limited education on other crop varieties, and difficulty in finding markets to sell these alternative crops. This is exacerbated by low grain prices, and the often more tedious task of harvesting small grains rather than maize.
Some organizations, such as the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics, believe that the technology needed to harvest and process small grains already exists, and just needs to be better promoted. Others, like the government, are trying to encourage growing more sorghum, millet and other small grains by offering farmers, each season as they are entitled to, either 10 kg of either maize or small grain seed.
As the ongoing drought and change in climate has caused small-scale farmers in Zimbabwe to rethink planting their staple crop, maize, those in the seed industry and government are working to step up efforts to create and market new seeds to provide for the country’s needs.