Wheat scheme oversubscribed Deputy Minister Haritatos

Agriculture Reporter

The Presidential Inputs Scheme for wheat has been oversubscribed with farmers willing to grow more than 8 000 hectares against a target of 5 500ha as the country moves to being flour self-sufficient.

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development said the targeted 75 000 hectares of wheat during the 2022 cropping season could be surpassed.

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 in pursuit of the vision of becoming an empowered and prosperous upper middle income society by 2030.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos confirmed that more farmers were willing to grow heat during this winter season.

He said emphasis was now being put on achieving the high quality yield per unit area.

Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos said suppliers had indicated that they had enough materials for the season and rains had brought enough water to support wheat production.

“We feel that not only will we meet our target but we will also surpass the target.

“The report we are receiving is that farmers are over subscribing to what we have offered. For instance, the Presidential Inputs Programme we are targeting about 5, 500 hectares and already now we have an interest of over 8 000 hectares which is above our target.”

We foresee that the AFC is coming on board as well as CBZ Agro yield under the NEAPS programme and it’s going to be a tremendous success.

CBZ Agro-Yield is targeting to contracting 36 500 hectares. At an estimated yield of 4,5 tonnes per hectare, the estimated production is 164 250 tonnes.

“We also have the private sector who have pledged at least 15 000 hectares under this current season if not more. So I think we are ready to go hard and fast into the wheat season and smash records,” he said.

AFC Land Bank is targeting at contracting 10 000 hectares. At an estimated yield of 4,5 tonnes per hectare, the estimated production is 45 000 tonnes and the private sector will contract 23 000 hectares for wheat. At an estimated yield of 6,5 tonnes per hectare, the estimated production is 149 500 tonnes.

“What is important for our farmers is now to look at the productivity aspect. We do not want to have higher hectarage but also want to have good yields and good quality wheat being produced from this current season. So that is what we are working on now,” he said.

The 2021/22 summer cropping season saw farmers planting late due to the late onset of the season.

Most farmers will have to remove the maize crop so they can plant wheat early.

Dep Min Haritatos said Government had availed 20 dryers which were being installed at the Grain Marketing Board depots for use by farmers to dry their maize.

“We have 20 dryers being installed now at our GMB depots.

“We also have combine harvesters deployed to strategic provinces that produce the bulk of maize and wheat so that at least combining can happen where the wheat is growing so we can remove the maize as fast as possible,” he said.

“The Agricultural Finance Company (AFC) Leasing Company will also help will combine harvesters,” he said.

“We have gone all out and our main target is to become flour self-sufficient and we are targeting historical figures this season. We want to surpass even last season figures,” he said.

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