Wheat production is expected to hit 408 000 metric tonnes this year, which is a 9% increase from 375 131 tonnes achieved in 2021, on the back of increased hectarage.
Speaking at a post Cabinet briefing on Tuesday, Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the government has intensified input distribution to meet the set target.
“With regard to wheat, the nation is being informed that the 2022 Winter Season yielded a record 375 131 metric tonnes from the total of 80 883 hectares planted under various financing models.
“Efforts are underway to increase the total hectarage to 85 000 and achieve a new record of 408 000 metric tonnes from the 2023 Winter Wheat Cropping Programme,” Mutsvangwa said.
The revelations by the government comes at a time ZESA has assured farmers dedicated power supplies for their operations.
According to the government, wheat farmers have so far planted 4 257 hectares thereby exceeding the 2 153 hectares planted by May 8, 2022, reflecting a 98% increase.
The development comes as the country’s private sector, which has set a target of 150 000 tonnes of winter wheat output this year, has started receiving funding from banks.
This reflects a 67% increase from 90 000 tonnes achieved last year.
Food crop contractors have engaged power utility, ZESA Holdings, over uninterrupted power supplies during this winter season to boost wheat output.
The development comes at a time when various sectors of the economy are grappling with rolling power cuts thereby affecting production.
Food Crop Contractors chairperson Graeme Murdoch told Business Times that an uninterrupted power supply will boost wheat output.
“The power utility had previously ring-fenced 100 megawatts but with the current power outages we wanted to ensure we get that amount or even more,” Murdoch said.
Zimbabwe is targeting 85,000 hectares of wheat.
Out of this, the government is planning over 60,000 hectares and the private sector 25,000 hectares.
Murdoch said banks have made a commitment to fund winter wheat for the private sector with most farmers already planting.
“So far banks have availed funding for 20 000 hectares and we expect the financial institutions to avail more funding as the season progresses,” Murdoch said.
He said the banks are forthcoming in supply finance for wheat, although there are challenges in accessing finance.