The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) of Zimbabwe has advised that the rains received in some parts of the country on Monday night and Tuesday morning do not mark the start of the rainy season. In a statement seen by Pindula News, Professor Obert Jiri the PermanentnSecretary in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development discouraged farmers from planting unless they have adequate irrigation. Jiri said:

"Many parts of the country have received substantial rains this week. The Meteorological Services Department advises that this is not the start of the rainy season. We advise farmers to use these rains to speed up land preparation (holing for Pfumvudza / Intwasa and accelerating tillage for those practicing conventional farming). Farmers are discouraged from planting unless they have adequate irrigation.

We expect the weather to clear soon so wheat farmers may expect a better assessment of the crop. Unless a farmer has access to drying facilities, no harvesting is advisable until the moisture content is in the acceptable range."

Experts predict that Zimbabwe is likely to experience normal to below-normal rainfall in the upcoming cropping season due to the El Niño phenomenon affecting Southern Africa. Farmers are advised to take early planting measures, opt for short-season maize varieties, and cultivate drought-resistant and early-maturing crops.

The El Niño phenomenon often brings delayed and erratic rains, negatively impacting crops and livestock. El Niño is a weather phenomenon characterised by the warming of the Pacific Ocean’s surface waters. It disrupts normal weather patterns, causing changes in rainfall, temperature, and ocean currents worldwide. It can lead to droughts, floods, and impacts on agriculture, ecosystems, and human lives. Zimbabwe has experienced El Niño-induced droughts in the past, and it is crucial to learn from those experiences.