Zimbabwe’s private sector has surpassed its winter wheat targeted hectarage by 20% to 30 000 hectares from the 25 000 hectares target due to the extension of loans by financial institutions.
A number of financial institutions enjoy a cordial relationship with the private sector as its members religiously repay loans.
The National Wheat Contract Farming Committee vice chairperson Graeme Murdoch told Business Times that contracted farmers are now focusing on maintaining the crop to get high yields.
“In terms of our target as private sector contractors, we had originally set a target of 25 000 hectares and we are actually closer to 30 000 hectares that have germinated. The focus is now to ensure that the crop is well taken care of to get the desired output of more than five tonnes per hectare,” Murdoch said.
Zimbabwe is expecting to be wheat self-sufficiency thereby reducing overdependence on imports which will be affected by the Russia Ukraine war.
International wheat prices are also expected to go up in the process as a result of war in Eastern Europe.
This year the government has planned to increase wheat hectarage to 75 000 hectares from 60 000 hectares last year.
Tobacco farmers are expected to put 20 000 of their hectares under wheat with an estimated output of 100 000 tonnes.
Government has announced that the country has sufficient fertiliser stocks for the winter wheat, which is a major boost for the crop.
Zimbabwe is expected to reach over 380 000 tonnes of wheat this year as the county’s wheat requirement stands at 360 000 tonnes.This will give a surplus of 20 000 tonnes of wheat.
Zimbabwe’s wheat is not good enough to make bread hence a small percentage of wheat will be imported to mix with the local cereal.
The best wheat comes from Eastern Europe where the temperatures are very low hence various countries including Zimbabwe buy from that area to blend locally grown wheat to make bread.
Without blending, local wheat is mainly for biscuits and self-raising flour.