Wheat planting surges to 98 000 hectares Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary Professor Obert Jiri (right) and Chivaraidze Farm manager, Mr Arthur Stedall, inspect the germinated winter wheat crop in Goromonzi yesterday. - Picture: Joseph Manditswara

Precious Manomano-Herald Reporter

Farmers have so far planted 98 000 hectares of wheat this winter season, as the Second Republic moves to boost food security.

Over 600 000 tonnes of wheat are expected to be produced from the 120 000ha being targeted this season.

Clearly, the record harvest of 465 000 tonnes last season will likely be exceeded as more than last year’s 91 000ha have been planted.

The planting window for wheat has been extended to this Friday and farmers are working hard to ensure they meet the target before the deadline. 

All farmers who have been given inputs are encouraged to plant before the deadline.

Statistics from the Agriculture and Rural Development Advisory Service (ARDAS) indicated that so far farmers have planted 97 562ha of wheat, 81 percent of the targeted hectarage but almost 7 000ha more than last year.

The statistics also show that the total area contracted is 121 782ha out of a target of 120 000ha.

ARDA has contracted 60 272ha, which is more than 100 percent of their targeted 60 000ha area and 47 165ha, that is 79 percent of the area has been planted.

About 20 districts have been identified as top priority to concentrate on mopping up planting by the Friday deadline.

These include Zvimba District, which is now left with 4 000ha, Mazowe 4 000ha, Kwekwe 4 000ha, Hurungwe 2 000ha, Bindura 1 000ha, Chegutu 1 500ha and Makonde 1 000ha.

Teams from the department have been deployed to these districts to moblise farmers to unlock 17 500ha.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary, Professor Obert Jiri, said farmers should wrap up planting by June 14.

He also applauded extension workers and farmers for working hard, adding that good agronomic practices should be implemented to ensure that the target is met.

Prof Jiri said there were no major challenges on power outages and Zinwa was supplying enough water.

Farmers are expected to approach their agricultural extension workers for the wheat growing support and agronomic practices.

The wheat crop is supported through private contractors, Government’s National Enhanced Agricultural Productivity Scheme, (NEAPS) Presidential Wheat Support Scheme and self-financed growers.

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

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