Zimbabwe is expecting to harvest close to 300,000 tonnes of wheat this season following an uninterrupted power supply throughout the season.
This will be a big step towards wheat self-sufficiency as the country’s wheat output rose 42% to above 298,000 tonnes from 210,000 tonnes last year.
In a post Cabinet briefing on Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister Monica Mutsvangwa (pictured) said the winter wheat crop is generally good across all provinces, and the major activities on the farms include spraying of chemicals for pest control, top dressing and routine irrigation.
“From the 66 435. 86 hectares planted under the Presidential, NEAPS/Command/CBZ Agro-Yield and Private Sector schemes at a yield level of 4.5 tonnes per hectare, the country expects 298 961 metric tonnes against the national requirement of 360 000 metric tonnes,” Mutsvangwa said.
She said there is adequate water in the dams for crop irrigation.
Early planted wheat is now at the hard dough stage in most provinces and the producer price will be announced in due course.
GMB has commenced preparations for wheat intake and has designated 18 intake depots in that regard, Mutsvangwa said.
She said the harvesting of the early-planted wheat is expected to start from mid-September onwards and fuel for the contracted farmers is being made available on time.
Mutsvangwa said the quelea bird menace remains a the major threat in all provinces and farmers are accessing bird shield chemical from GMB.
Current wheat stocks are sufficient until the next harvest, expected from mid-September.
Experts say even if the country achieves the national requirement the country will still need to import wheat to make quality bread as local wheat is not suitable due to conditions in which the wheat is grown under.
Zimbabwe has to import a small percentage of wheat to blend with the local wheat. The local wheat is ideal in the manufacture of products such as biscuits.
Official winter wheat planting window begins in early April and ends mid-June.