Chipata in rainfall deficit

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—-Chipata district in Eastern Province has experienced poor distribution of rainfall in the 2012/13 farming season.

According to a report presented by the Agriculture Sub-Committee to the District Development Coordinating Committee (DDCC) held at Chipata Municipal Council chamber, the amount rainfall received was as low as 547 millimetres which was about half of the normal rainfall.

The report further stated that the Western, Southern, Eastern Blocks of the district, especially around Chiparamba area where late planting and maturing crops were planted, have been greatly affected.

The report also indicated that the district also experienced some hail storm which affected part of the district, citing Msekera Regional Research Station and surrounding farms as the most hit.

“The major crops that were seriously affected are cowpeas, sunflower, cotton and soya beans,” the report read in part.

And the report further stated that subcommittee members were concerned with delays by the Tobacco Board of Zambia (TBZ) to open this year’s tobacco market.

It states that the delays in opening the market had led to farmers selling the commodity to unscrupulous buyers who bought the commodity at a cheaper price.

The report indicates that it was a well know fact that any person engaged in tobacco buying should have BUZ or VZ numbers, but the situation on the ground was different as vendors did not have the numbers.

The report also indicated that there was need for TBZ to have strong measures to protect and control the tobacco industry if it was to flourish.

Recently, chief Madzimawe of the Ngoni in Chipata district stated that poor rainfall pattern would adversely affect crop yields in his chiefdom.

The traditional leader stated that the poor rainfall pattern experienced during the 2012/13 farming season had already shown signs of crop failure in some cases.