“The probability of a repeat of the 2016 drought is increasing daily- Some of the scenarios we are facing, looks even grimmer than the previous drought. The financial position of most farming units in the production area are far worse than it was in 2016. The current grain prices are not high enough and thus do not favour nor encourage farmers to take a similar risk by planting beyond the optimum window, as they did in 2016.”—

Esnath Hamadziripi, a researcher at International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mazowe on Dec. 10, 2018, says in Zimbabwe, three-in-five seasons are expected to be bad for farmers and El Nino is making that worse.

Recently, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) identified the new climate resilient maize developed by CIMMYT as one of the best innovations in agriculture.

Zimbabwe, once considered the breadbasket of southern Africa, saw farm production fall sharply in the early 2000s after a land reform program displaced experienced white commercial farmers and replaced them with black peasant farmers. Repeated droughts have helped to keep production low.

CIMMYT warns that planting climate resilient maize alone will not help Zimbabwean farmers. It says farmers should conserve the rains they receive, says Isaiah Nyagumbo, a CIMMYT agronomist.

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