Zim records highest wheat harvest in 56 years Professor Obert Jiri

Precious Manomano Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWE has achieved a milestone in wheat production by harvesting 375 000 tonnes of the cereal this year, the highest ever recorded since wheat growing started in 1966.

The attainment of soft wheat self-sufficiency is premised on Government’s agricultural transformation anchored on active private and public sector participation.

Over the years, the country could not meet national requirements and had to import wheat from other countries.

The private sector should contribute at least 40 percent of the production of their raw material requirements in line with Government policy and the target was met this year.

The Agricultural and Rural Development Advisory Services weekly update indicates that all of the provinces have completed harvesting.

It also shows that the cumulative area harvested across the provinces stands at 78 063ha, which is 97 percent of the planted area with a cumulative production of 375 131 tonnes.

Agriculture and Rural Advisory Services chief director Professor Obert Jiri said by working together as a team, they managed to improve wheat production.

“Yes we managed to meet the target. This was through hard work, commitment and working together to produce wheat that is sufficient for the country. The effort is greatly appreciated and we are positive that we can also do more than this in the next season,” he said.

Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) national chairman Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said there had been a steady growth in wheat harvests, adding that if the private sector continued to work with the Government, widespread imports would be permanently eliminated.

“We have the biggest yield this year since wheat started. This year, Government has not only empowered the farmers, but the consumers as well in product supply and price stability.

“The Russia-Ukraine conflict has caused serious problems for us. Partnerships with Government are crucial in terms of food sufficiency. We used to import wheat worth US$300 million, we no longer do that and want to domesticate that. We also managed to secure the raw materials for the whole year,” he said.

Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust president, Mrs Depinah Nkomo, said the progress was well appreciated, and urged farmers to work even harder next season.

“Farmers have worked hard to ensure that the country becomes self-sufficient although challenges such as rains and veld fires have affected the output but this is a good output and this is a positive development towards food security,” she said.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Dr Shadreck Makombe said farmers have done well in wheat production adding that they should plant early next season.

“Farmers have done a great job this season. I urge them to start planting in April to minimise the risk of rains and veld fires. If all farmers managed to plant early,there are very low chances of crops being affected by rains. Next season farmers should plant early to maximise our productivity as well as to ensure that our crop is protected from early rains,” he said.

Last year, the wheat harvest stood at 330 000 tonnes from 66 000 hectares.

During the 2022 winter cropping season, 78 063 hectares were put under wheat, registering the highest hectarage since independence and followed by plantings in 2004 (70 585ha) and 2005 (67 261ha).

The country had targeted to produce 380 000 tonnes of wheat but part of the crop was affected by early rains and veld fires.

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