Zimbabwe adopts cloud seeding to mitigate drought

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Zimbabwe’s Meteorological Services Department has started cloud seeding countrywide in an effort to combat an El Nino-induced drought this year.

Head of public weather service at the agency Tich Zinyemba told Xinhua Friday that the operation started on Jan. 11 with two aircrafts in use.

“We are doing it nationally each time the conditions are conducive,” Zinyemba said.

He said 95 percent of the country had received less than three-quarters of its average rainfall this season due to the El Nino phenomena.

The agency announced in October last year that it had received 200,000 U.S. dollars from the government for the exercise out of the 500,000 dollars required.

Zimbabwe is among southern African countries that are experiencing their worst drought in about two decades due to El Nino.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made has said the country will need to import up to 700,000 tonnes of the staple maize to avert hunger.

Central bank governor John Mangudya said this week the country had secured 200 million dollars in lines of credit for maize imports that will start in September.

Zimbabwe has received inadequate rains in recent years due to climate change and the poor rainfall patterns have impacted negatively on the country’s food security, resulting in many people experiencing food shortages.

According to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee, an estimated 1.5 million rural Zimbabweans will face food shortages in the first three months of this year.