Poor rice yields predicted in Kalabo

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—–Kalabo District Senior Agriculture Officer Chipobe Hangombe says he anticipates hunger in the district due to poor rainfall pattern that is being experienced.

Mr Hangombe who disclosed the development to ZANIS in an interview in Kalabo today noted that unlike maize farmers in some parts of the district, rice farmers were bound to have disaster if rains continue in the prevailing pattern because the crop grew well in floods.

He further revealed that to this effect, some farmers resolved not to use their fertilizers but to keep it for their 2015/2016 farming season for fear of wastage if they used it now.

Maize farmers might harvest slightly above 50 percent in some parts of the district while rice farming which is the main agricultural activity might have 30 to zero percent harvest if rainfall does not improve.

He noted that weeds had attacked the crops of farmers that had planted between late December 2014 and early January 2015.

Mr Hangombe has since advised farmers to divert into cassava a drought resistance crop.

In the 2013/2014 faming season, Kalabo district harvested 1,699 metric tonnes of rice and 66.8 percent of maize which were both above 50 percent of what the district would produce during a normal rain season.

“We are anticipating hunger in the district if the rains continue with this pattern, I urge farmers in the district to also concentrate on growing cassava which is a drought resistance crop and can do well in the local soils,” Mr Hangombe advised.