Regional weather experts are expected to meet in Windhoek on December 18 and 19 to discuss regional weather forecasting as a follow-up to the Kadoma meeting held in October.
Zimbabwe’s agricultural minister Kumbirai Kangai is reported to be anxiously awaiting the results of this meeting as he would like to call a special meeting of the regional ministers of agricultural to discuss food security issues related to the potential drought this season.
Weather experts are still predicting that the dreaded El Nino phenomenon will cause havoc in the region but farmers have been planting.
With good to moderate rains in October, weather experts have been encouraging farmers to plant short-season varieties of maize and drought tolerant crops like sorghum, millet and sweat potatoes.
There are strong fears that weather patterns could change drastically in January and February. With reports of heavy rains and floods that have killed people in East Africa, there is also concern that this could raise logistical problems if the two regions were both to have food deficits and therefore compete to procure cereals.
But there have also been reports that most of the countries like Zimbabwe have adequate surface water because of excessive rains last season. Countries with a capacity for irrigation could therefore do quite well.
While Zimbabwe is one of those countries with good irrigation facilities, these are largely in the hands of commercial farmers who are presently upset by the government’s decision to acquire more than 1500 farms and are not sure about their future in farming.