Michael Magoronga Midlands Correspondent
Midlands Province is expecting a reduced, but fair winter wheat output this season following a number of challenges that bedevilled proper planting of the crop, Crop and Livestock officer Mrs Medline Magwenzi has said.
She said the province was expecting a low yield owing to reduced hectarage.
“This was a different season all together. Out of the intended 20 000 hectares across the province, we ended up putting only 11 000 hectares under wheat for the winter season. “As a result, we are also expecting a reduced but fair yield,” she said.
Mrs Magwenzi said the hectarage was reduced as a result of power cuts, lack of adequate inputs as well as low water levels in most water bodies.
“We were faced by so many challenges but we are glad that some farmers soldiered on and in the end those in places like Kwekwe, Gweru and Mvuma did well.
“The crop in other places like Zvishavane and Shurugwi did not do well,” she said.
She said preparations to start harvesting the crop were underway ahead of the start of the 2019/20 season. “We are now intensifying preparations to harvest. We are well aware that combine harvesters are a problem, but we will also borrow from other provinces that would have harvested before us. But we are optimistic that most of our wheat would have been moved off the fields come rains,” said Mrs Magwenzi. “We normally get about 8 tonnes per hectare but given all these challenges, we are talking of between 3 and 5 tonnes per hectare. This will obviously mean reduced output.” Mrs Magwenzi said preparations for the summer cropping season had gathered momentum and farmers were optimistic.
“We are glad our farmers are not losing hope. So far we have started contracting farmers and we are optimistic of a better season despite the challenges that we encountered,” she said.