Word from the market
In the face of climate change, crops such as sorghum, pearl millet and finger millet offer a unique opportunity for rural farmers especially those in the drier regions to sustain their livelihoods. According to the NDS1 report, the number of people confronted with food insecurity ranged from 500 000 in 2015 to 1.7 million in 2020. The major cause of this huge increase is the effects of climate change that include recurrent droughts, prolonged mid-season dry spells which all lead to massive crop failure.
Despite the erratic rainfall conditions, most of the rural farmers in dry regions of the country continue to opt for the water thirsty maize crop ahead of the resilient traditional grains. There is an overall decrease in hectarage put under small grains of 31 percent to 526415ha compared to last year as captured by the first round of the crop and livestock assessment report. One of the major reasons why farmers shun production of these crops is owing to lack of support from consumers across the country. It is important for the nation to embrace the consumption of small grains not just as a nutrient benefit but to support the rural farmers. The market drives production, and without justifiable returns farmers will shun the crops. During a crop assessment carried out by AMA across the country, Francis Makowere, a cotton farmer in pengashed in Chiredzi district underscored the importance of small grains. He highlighted that had he not grown pearl millet, his household would have been faced with hunger owing to erratic rainfall supply in his region.https://www.sundaymail.co.zw/traditional-grains-market-growth-critical-in-supporting-rural-livelihoods