Frost damaged crops worth thousands of dollars in commercial farming areas of Esigodini, Umguza, Matopos and Nyamandlovu, which experienced temperatures as low as minus two degrees this week.
“My two and a half hectare crop of tomato was destroyed by frost on Monday night. The crop was almost near maturing stage and I had secured orders for the tomatoes in Bulawayo. The entire crop is a write off and I do not know how I am going to pay my workers,” said Edmore Pakathi, a farmer from Esigodini.
Another farmer from Umguza commercial farming area said he had also lost his vegetable crop to frost.
“My situation was worsened by the fact that my plot is located on a watershed. Frost normally favours such areas. I have cancelled my daily morning trips to the market in Bulawayo because all the vegetables have turned brownish, an indication that they have been affected by frost,” said the farmer.
A survey carried by Radio VOP at the vegetable market in Bulawayo on Wednesday revealed an acute shortage of vegetables in the city as a result of the frost. A bucket of tomatoes, which usual cost $5 per bucket, is now being sold at between $10 and $15.
The Meteorological Services Department has predicted that this year’s winter season is going to be one of the coldest with temperatures expected to drop drastically. The loss of heat from the ground results in the occurrence of frost.