By A Correspondent- Matabeleland South’s biggest irrigation scheme, ARDA Antelopes is counting losses after a veld fire that broke out on Friday, spreading into the farm and destroying a part of the seed crop.
Estate Manager, Aleck Chinyayi told ZBCnews that the fire broke out in the morning and destroyed a seed crop with an estimated value of US$5 000. Chinyayi said:
A fire just broke out across the fence and because the wheat is ready for harvest it didn’t take time for it to catch fire and we had to rush with the workers and put it out, we have lost almost a hectare of the seed crop.
This is happening when Zimbabwe is in serious need of locally-produced wheat to cover the deficit that was caused by Russia/Ukraine war which interrupted international trade.
Meanwhile, Mukunjulelwa Ndlovu, Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water Fisheries and Rural Development, Acting Provincial Director has urged farmers to guard against fire. Ndlovu said:
This is a seed crop that is going to help us increase our area of wheat next season and farmers need to be on the lookout for fire incidences as they can destroy the crop at the critical stage.
ARDA Antelope is one of the biggest irrigation schemes in Matabeleland South province with over 500 hectares under commercial wheat, 180 hectares of wheat seed, and 56 hectares of potatoes.