Govt targets 5% increase in wheat hectarage

File pic: Wheat field

GOVERNMENT says it is planning to increase its wheat hectarage by 5% from last year’s 80 388 hectares.

“The nation is being informed that the target for the 2023 winter wheat production is 85 000 hectares, compared to the 80 388 hectares planted in 2022. Out of the 85 000 ha for 2023, 65% will be supported through government-guaranteed schemes, and 35% by the private sector,” Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa announced the plan on Tuesday during a post-Cabinet briefing.

“Government-guaranteed schemes are: The CBZ Agro-Yield Programme; the AFC Land Bank; and the Presidential Input Scheme, while the Food Crop Contractors Association will constitute the private sector funding, which will be complemented by some self-financing farmers.

“The projected production from the area that will be planted under wheat is 408 000 tonnes (t), based on the actual yield volume of 4,8t/ha which was achieved in 2022.”

Mutsvangwa added that the Food Crop Contractors Association will support the production of 7 700 ha of barley, and expects to realise 50 050t at a yield of 6,5t per hectare.

Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa 

The wheat planting period covers the months of April and May.

“The nation is assured that the country has enough seed and basal fertiliser for the 2023 winter cereal production season. For the top dressing component that is in short supply, government has put in place enabling legislation to facilitate the importation of duty-free top dressing fertilisers by local companies thereby ensuring adequate supplies,” she said.

“Regarding electricity and water supply, the nation is informed that power supplies have been ring-fenced for the benefit of wheat production. The national dam levels are at 93,5%, thereby guaranteeing water availability. An Agriculture-Energy Task Force will ensure availability of these critical enablers ahead of the winter cropping season.”

The minister encouraged wheat farmers to plant early and use high-yield varieties to maximise productivity.

Last season, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia were the only countries in Africa that attained self-sufficiency in wheat after 375 131 tonnes were produced against a national requirement of 360 000 tonnes.

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