By Albert Makendenge

The sun spends the greater and better part of the 24 hours out of sight much to the frustration of both humans and plants, in varying degrees. For humans in the sense that there is limited time to get work done whilst it is still day and plants do not get that much of the precious heat units, which (unfortunately) the moonlight cannot provide.

When the Almighty said let there be light, he, in other words he meant to say let there be growth and let there be development. I guess one can very well say that it was all part of his big plan with the vegetation and several other creations to follow after that. The process by which plants make their own food, called photosynthesis, requires sunlight as one of the most important raw materials amongst carbon dioxide and water for carbohydrate and oxygen production. The short days, whose climax are marked by the 21st of June in Zimbabwe and countries south of the Equator, leave both plants and humans craving for the light, heat and warmth of the sun which becomes a rare commodity during this time of the year. The good thing, however, is that the beginning and end of a work’s day does not always have to be marked by sunrise and sunset and work can start early at dawn and way past dusk. Even better is the fact breeding continues to churn out plant varieties (rice, cotton, soyabean) that appreciate the limited sun’s availability.

Whilst nothing can be done to alter the way nature operates since the very beginning of creation, humans have been the given the knowledge and ability to make the most out limited time through breeding and simple time management techniques (early starts and late dismissals) such that even a short day may leave a farmer feeling like it’s been a long one. 

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