Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Government has pegged the 2019 wheat producer price at $8 612,08 per tonne, despite an expected low output due to power outages that characterised this year’s winter season.
This is an increase from the $1 089,68 per tonne announced by the Government in April this year.
Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri announced the new price yesterday, adding that the price was expected to prevail throughout the wheat marketing period.
“The wheat producer price shall be $8 612 08,” he said.
“Wheat is harvested over a very short time. We expect farmers to harvest in that short period. We are going into the summer season and farmers need to carry out land preparations.
“The price will remain firm throughout the harvesting period.”
Minister Shiri expressed concern over the erratic power supplies throughout the season, which have compromised yields.
“This has been a very dicey season. We had a very epileptic supply of electricity. Under normal circumstances we expect to be irrigating wheat throughout the day, but electricity was only available in most cases from around 10.30pm at night up to about 5am in the morning,” he said.
Zimbabwe has been a net wheat importer and Government had to include wheat under Command Agriculture to boost production.
Wheat farmers received input support that included seed, fertilisers and herbicides, among others.
The country requires 460 000 tonnes of wheat every year to avoid bread shortages, and current efforts are expected to progressively increase production to wipe out the deficit.
Government is taking steps to ensure national food security is guaranteed.
This includes importation of maize and wheat to ensure a steady a supply of bread and other bakery products.