Wheat farmers are expected to start harvesting the early planted crop next month, a Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) officialhas said.
The union’s director Mr Paul Zakariya told The Herald on Thursday that the crop had reached maturity and was now ready for harvest, according to assessment they had done.
“The production of wheat is going well and most of the crop is at the grain filling stage. We are expecting a good harvest although it’s too early to say the exact output,” he said.
“The Government is doing a lot to control quelea birds which are threatening the crop. At the moment farmers are now focusing on harvesting the early planted crop. Harvesting will commence next month and by the end of October the bulk of the crop would have been harvested.”
Mr Zakariya said there was need for proper coordination in the harvesting of the crop to ensure that the yield is not affected by this season’s rains.
“This is a critical stage and it requires uninterrupted power supply and adequate combine harvesters to ensure an efficient harvesting process,” he said.
The Government is in the process of mobilising harvesters for the successful harvesting of winter wheat crop.
It has been targeting to increase wheat production to meet the national requirement in line with its food security goals.
Production of adequate wheat stocks will help the country to save foreign currency required for wheat imports.
Acting Agritex provincial head, Mrs Evelyn Ndoro said farmers in Mashonaland West were aiming to surpass last year’s target.
“We had a target of 34 000 hectares to be put under wheat,” said Mrs Ndoro. “Makonde, Zvimba, Hurungwe and Chegutu are going to contribute the greater chunk of the target.
“We were given a mammoth task of up to 35 000 hectares under winter wheat last year, which we failed to meet. We are, however, working to improve our yields this season.”
In Zimbabwe, wheat is the second most important cereal crop after maize.
The annual wheat consumption for Zimbabwe is above 400 000 tonnes.
Farmers planted more than 85 000 hectares of the winter wheat crop this year.
Last season, farmers produced wheat that covered nine months’ supply of local demand.