Zimbabwe's 'Farming Wizard' Grows Bumper Crop in Worst Drought in Years
Among his neighbours, Phillip Tshuma, 67, is considered a wizard who commands the rains with the help of goblins. How else could he grow a bumper crop of ripening maize, sorghum, millet and peanuts in a season when many farmers in Zimbabwe have written off their crops? In truth, the farmer from Gavu, a village in arid Hwange District, about 450km north of Bulawayo, cannot control the weather. But he can predict it fairly accurately.
Using a well-worn record book, a green plastic rain gauge, and a mobile phone on which he receives climate-related information via SMS, Tshuma makes farming decisions based on the weather patterns in his area, including when to plant, how to till the soil and how much fertiliser to apply.
Tshuma is one of a thousand small-scale farmers in southern Zimbabwe benefiting from a project called Climate Smart Agriculture: Combating the El Nino Phenomenon.