REGIS CHINGAWO IN MASVINGO
Masvingo Province is expecting to plant over 2 000 hectares (ha) of winter wheat crop through contract farming, Business Times has learnt.
Agritex provincial officer, Aaron Muchazivepi told Business Times they have contracted some farmers in Chiredzi, Mwenezi, Mushandike, and Gutu districts under the partnership of Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe’s Agro Yield Facility and Tongaat Hulett.
“Masvingo Development Trust has been tasked to grow wheat and as we speak, 500ha have been set aside for Chiredzi District and the other 500ha will be under Mwenezi district. The remaining hectares will be allocated to Gutu and Mushandike districts,” Muchazivepi said.
He said winter wheat farmers will be given free farming inputs under the Presidential Winter Wheat facility.
“Under this facility, farmers who have less than five hectares of land will be given farming inputs including fertilisers, provided that they have irrigation facilities. Preference will be given to the farmers with gardens, those already with irrigation facilities on their pieces of land and those who irrigate using water from rivers,” Muchazivepi said.
Chiredzi district provides the bulk of the winter wheat crop in Masvingo Province.
In Masvingo district, the crop is farmed in Mushandike district, 25km from Masvingo Central Business District.
Last season, 800ha was put under winter wheat cropping in Masvingo province.
The country has targeted 340 000 tonnes of wheat this cropping season.
Zimbabwe requires 360 000 tonnes of wheat annually.
The largest single harvest in history was in 1990 when 325 000 tonnes were harvested. The Zimbabwe National Water Authority has indicated that all the major dams around the country’s 10 provinces are capable of irrigating 230 000ha.