Govt bullish on this year’s wheat production

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BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
ZIMBABWE aims to attain wheat self-sufficiency in the 2022 winter wheat season buoyed by an increase in private sector participation, a government official has said.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development permanent secretary, John Basera said there was adequate water this year to irrigate the targeted 75 000 hectares and enough certified wheat seed, fertilizers and chemicals were in stock.

Similarly, Zesa has indicated that it will make arrangements to ensure uninterrupted power supply to wheat farmers.

Basera said the sector was also expecting agricultural financing led by the private sector, including banks and contractors.

“This 2022 winter wheat season, the country aims to attain wheat self-sufficiency ‘at any cost’ by targeting 75 000ha through various initiatives mainly private sector-led.

“Over the past three winter seasons private sector participation has been increasing from 8 000ha in 2020 and doubling to 16 000ha in 2021,” Basera said.

“The private sector is targeting over 23 000ha of wheat this 2022 winter season through the Food Crops Contractors Association which is a syndicate of private millers, processors and commodity contract farming companies. The expectation is to have agriculture financing led by the private sector including banks and commodity contractors,” he added.

Basera said the private sector’s increased participation was in response to government’s call to agricultural players to fund production.

In 2020, farmers produced enough wheat to cover nine months of domestic demand with the Grain Marketing Board receiving 156 144 tonnes of winter wheat from farmers it had contracted and around 95 000 tonnes grown by the rest of the wheat farmers to give a total harvest of over 250 000 tonnes.

Zimbabwe requires about 360 000 tonnes of wheat for consumption each year.

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