Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Winter wheat production is this season expected to surpass 280 000 tonnes following Government’s intervention with the Special Winter Wheat Production programme (Command Wheat), the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has said. According to the Treasury Quarterly Bulletin (January-March 2017), the programme is expected to go a long way in reducing wheat imports and also saving foreign currency.
“Following the success of the Special Maize Programme (Command Agriculture) during the 2016-17 agriculture season, Government has embarked on a Special Winter Wheat Production programme similar to that of maize in an endeavour to reduce wheat imports.
“The programme is targeting 70 000 hectares at average yields of 5 tonnes per hectare and already 881 farmers with hectarage of more than 56 000ha have been registered by end of March,” reads the bulletin.
Private financiers have also contracted over 14 000ha of wheat this season.
“Wheat output is, therefore, set to surpass 280 000 tonnes this season, which will a go a long way in reducing imports, thus saving the country’s foreign currency.
“This level of wheat production will be a huge leap from the current average planted area of 14 000ha for the past three years producing wheat output of around 60 000 tonnes annually.”
By end of March, Mashonaland West had the highest area contracted as 12 136ha was registered for wheat production by 156 farmers, while other provinces stood as follows: Mashonaland Central (6 900ha), Mashonaland East (5 891ha), Manicaland (1 327ha), Midlands (1 738ha), Matabeleland South (1 891ha), Masvingo (1 207ha) and Matabeleland North (487ha).