more local wheat next year

The Sunday Mail

Carren Mushonga
The 2019 winter wheat farming season output is projected to be over 300 000 metric tonnes following a push to farmers to maximise production and increase yields per hectare.

Initial indications are that 75 000 hectares will be put under wheat this season, compared to 67 000 last year.

Speaking to The Sunday Mail, Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos said 60 000 hectares would be under the command agriculture programme.

“The command agriculture programme targets 60 000 hectares and the private sector is targeting 15 000 hectares under wheat.

“I would also encourage farmers to grow as much wheat as possible this coming season as, when using an average yield of between four and five tonnes per total targeted hectarage of 75 000, we should be able to realise 300 000 to 375 000 metric tonnes of wheat.”

A total 13 000 hectares have already been signed up under contract farming.

Last year, Zimbabwe produced 186 243 tonnes of wheat, against a national annual demand of about 400 000 tonnes.

Deputy minister Haritatos said the anticipated increase in wheat production would mean reduced importation of the cereal.

“This (increased production of wheat) will mean that we will only need to import a fraction of what we have had to import in the previous years,” he said

“This is critical as it will positively affect our trade imbalance and free up a substantial amount of foreign currency.”

The deputy minister also said farmers had started accessing wheat inputs from Government.

He said the major wheat contractors — Northern Farming, Staywell and PHI — had already started availing inputs to targeted farmers.