Govt pushes for wheat-based food security Prof Obert Jiri


Ashton Mutyavaviri

GOVERNMENT has urged wheat farmers to embrace sound agronomic practices that combat disease and pest infestations and allow the crop to fully utilise nutrients, achieve higher yields and contribute to nutrition and food security.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development permanent secretary Professor Obert Jiri said good agronomic practices were the only tools to unlock farmers’ massive potential to produce over 600 000 tonnes against a national requirement of 360 000 tonnes.

“Now that the 120 000-hectare target has been safely and successfully surpassed, focus is shifting to proper agronomic practices, information which you can access from our Agritex officers or offices,” said Prof Jiri.

Farmers this season are expected to produce enough wheat to not only meet the annual target of 360 000 tonnes required for domestic demand, but to also guarantee adequate carry-over stocks while increasing wheat exports.

The Government has been targeting increases in wheat production to meet the national requirement in line with the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, the Agriculture Recovery Plan and the National Development Strategy 1 and as one of the strategies for attaining the envisioned empowered and prosperous upper middle income society by 2030.

This season, Government assured wheat farmers of a better season in terms of the availability of water and electricity and will work closely with key stakeholders such as Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) and Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) to ensure uninterrupted power supplies, as well as enough water for irrigation.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) president Dr Shadreck Makombe said a good harvest was expected this season, adding that adequate irrigation and proper disease and pest control were needed to enhance productivity.

“We have enough water so we encourage our farmers to achieve 33mm of irrigation per week. This season is promising to be good so irrigate wisely and preserve water so that we achieve another bumper wheat harvest,” he said.

Scouting should be a regular practice to ensure your yield is not impacted negatively by pests or diseases, added Dr Makombe.

He further stressed that irrigation scheduling should depend on the soil type, highlighting that sandy soils required more frequent visits with more water since they lose water faster than clay soils.

For the past two seasons, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia were the two African countries, which were wheat self-sufficient with Zimbabwe even producing a sizeable surplus last season after achieving its first ever self-sufficiency in 2022.


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