AMA urges wheat farmers to register for ring-fenced electricity Agricultural and Rural Development Advisory Services acting chief director, Mr Leonard Munamati, said reviving irrigation schemes and consolidating existing ones was part of measures meant to combat the effects of drought in the event that it does not rain sufficiently enough, as happened in the 2023/2024 summer cropping season.

Edgar Vhera Agriculture Specialist Writer

THE Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) has urged wheat farmers to ensure they register for uninterrupted water and electricity supplies for 2024 winter season by April 19, 2024, as the country targets to plant 120 000 hectares.

In an X (formerly twitter) post titled: ‘Notice of registration for wheat farmers,’ AMA said Government intends to ring-fence water and power supplies to winter wheat farmers for the 2024 winter season and to get this privilege they should register with them by April 19.

“Notice is hereby given that all farmers intending to participate in the 2024 winter season, either contracted or self-financed, are required to register with AMA by April 19 in order to benefit from water and power ring-fencing programme. All unregistered farmers will not be eligible for the ring-fencing exercise,” said the notice.

AMA is mandated with the overall regulation of production, marketing and processing of agricultural products in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, the Agricultural and Rural Development Advisory Services (ARDAS) acting chief director, Mr Leonard Munamati recently said farmers must be organised into clusters to ring-fence electricity supply with the power utility promising to prioritise power supply for irrigation scheduling. He said this while giving an update on the state of preparedness for the 2024 winter wheat season.

“We are developing a map using the Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates for each wheat farm,” he added.

Food Crop Contractors Association (FCCA) chairman, Mr Graeme Murdoch said this was a welcome development, as farmers needed confidence that power and water would be available.

“The above is a result of various discussions with Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa). FCCA is targeting 25 000ha of wheat and 7 000ha barley dependent on availability of water, electricity and funding,” Mr Murdoch said.

Zimbabwe National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president and Headlands farmer, Mrs Monica Chinamasa said assurances of adequate electricity supplies had inspired her to increase her wheat hectarage from 120ha in 2022 to 160ha at her Tsukumai Farm last year.

A beneficiary of the land reform programme Mrs Zivai Memory Samudzimu of Pepsia Farm in Goromonzi in Mashonaland East said in the 2022 winter season she planted 40ha under wheat and achieved an average yield of nine tonnes per hectare. She increased the hectarage by 200 percent to 120 in 2023 after Government introduced electricity ring-fencing.

Highlighting the importance of power supply, an A2 farmer from Farm 9 Chitomborwizi in Mashonaland West province, Mr Penikati Magwada said he almost slashed his hectarage from 140 to 120 because of the massive power cuts experienced in 2022. The following season, he increased hectarage t0 220, thanks to assurances of adequate power supplies from Government.

A beneficiary of the Joint Venture (JV) arrangement from Mazowe, Mr Kane York confirmed the success of the ring-fencing arrangement saying: “Last year was the most successful since I started wheat farming. The Government maintained electricity supply to wheat production clusters resulting in a consistent and reliable power supply for irrigation.”

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