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Crop Diversity Save Food In Climate Crisis

By Tarusenga Samson

The advent of the 2024 El Nino induced drought which affected the region of Southern Africa should make farmers rethink if they should stick to the culture of mono cropping or intensify crop diversity.

Most farmers in communal areas who depend on the rains and grew one crop incurred huge losses due to the drought.

It might be climate wise if farmers avoid growing only one line of crop. Diversifying staple crops with other ones such as nuts and coffee might bring better results especially in this era of climate change.

Promoting the concept of crop diversity in mind, Coffee Research Institute in Chipinge is taking opportunity during maize field days to encourage farmers to incorporate the growing of macadamia nuts and coffee crops in their business.

Speaking recently during a maize field day held at Mr and Mrs Ganga of Dhleni Village in Chipinge, an official from Coffee Research Institute said that farmers should not unrated the power of crop diversification.

“People should not underscore the critical role that crop diversity has during times of droughts. In addition to maize, you can introduce coffee and macadamia farming. This has long-term benefits.

“Coffee and macadamia help in increasing productivity per unit cropping area and the diversification of non-systematic risk such as losses due to low product price, climate change induced drought and pest and diseases. The crops can be grown side by side with the maize crop or as intercrops thereby guaranteeing food security and increased income,” he said.

Macadamia is slowly gaining ground in districts such as Mutare, Chipinge, Mutasa, Nyanga and Makoni. Smallholder farmers are establishing some acres of the crop. In the past few years, farmers have been crying foul on the low price that the crop has been fetching.

But a closer look at the market trend, the crop has a potential to gain in market value. On the other hand, coffee market prices have been very steady and good.

  • Tarusenga Samson is Head of Institute at Coffee Research Institute-Chipingeand is writing in his own capacity.