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Wheat production to increase by over 100 000t

by Staff reporter
09 May 2021 at 07:10hrs | Views
WHEAT production for the forthcoming winter cropping season is set to increase by over 100 000 tonnes to 360 000 tonnes on account of decisive interventions by Government and private financiers to support cereal farmers.

Zimbabwe tripled its wheat production last year after producing over 250 000 tonnes of the cereal – enough to cover nine months' supply, saving the country at least US$100 million through import substitution.

The country needs at least 400 000 tonnes of wheat annually to meet demand.

Over 85 000 hectares will be put under the cereal this winter, with over 60 000 hectares being supported through the CBZ Agro-Yield scheme while an additional 15 000 hectares will be funded through various private sector schemes.

At least 10 000 hectares will be put under wheat through the inaugural Presidential Winter Wheat Scheme, which will witness scores of small scale farmers with access to irrigation moving into winter wheat farming.

This year's projected harvest is anticipated to be the largest since commercial wheat farming started in the 1960s.

Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (Agritex) acting director Mr Stancilae Tapererwa told The Sunday Mail that distribution of inputs had commenced, with some farmers having already received part of their fuel allocations.

"Preparations are going on well. CBZ is buying inputs for winter wheat for 60 000 hectares. We are targeting 85 000 hectares; 60 000ha funded by CBZ, 15 000ha funded by millers and 10 000ha funded by the Presidential Programme. So in total we have 85 000 hectares.

"Zesa has committed to give farmers constant power supply.

"Expected local production is more than 360 000 metric tonnes out of a national requirement of 400 000 metric tonnes.

"Fuel is being given to farmers by CBZ to hasten harvesting of the summer crop and land preparations for winter wheat."

Government has pegged the winter wheat pre-planting producer price for premium grade at $52 534,61 per tonne, while the standard grade price has been set at $43 778,84 per tonne.

The pre-planting producer price for the cereal has not changed from last year's owing to the stability of the local currency.

"The premium grade price is 20 percent above standard grade to reward quality," said Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Dr Anxious Masuka recently.

Already, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) has indicated that all major dams have water capable of irrigating more than 230 000 hectares.

Government through the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy and the Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development Plan targets to put 350 000ha under irrigation in the next three seasons to climate-proof agriculture.

Source - sundaymail