Zimbabwe has missed the winter wheat planting target by 25% after planting 63,897.26 hectares from the targeted 85,000 hectares owing to adverse impact of Covid-19 induced lockdown, a Cabinet minister has said.
The deadly virus restricted the movement of some inputs from other countries.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said the private sector met its target but other sectors missed due to the lockdowns.
“The nation is advised that of the 85,000 hectares planned for wheat, 63,897.26 hectares have been planted for the Presidential, National Enhanced Agricultural Productivity Scheme / Command/CBZ Agro-Yield and Private Sector Schemes,” Mutsvangwa said at a post-Cabinet briefing on Tuesday this week.
With over 63,000 hectares planted this year, the country is expecting to get an output of over 320,000 tonnes of wheat which is a step towards self-sufficiency.
Zimbabwe requires 360,000 tonnes of wheat each year, mainly for flour and bread and with that output the country is expected to import 40,000 tonnes of wheat.
ZESA this year dedicated an uninterrupted supply of 100 megawatts of electricity to winter wheat farmers.
The bulk of the planting has been done under the government guaranteed CBZ Agro-Yield programme with 41,935.7hectares, 15,400 hectares were funded by private contractors, three percent over the target, and almost 4,500 hectares through the Presidential Winter Wheat Scheme
Last season, farmers grew enough wheat to cover nine months of domestic demand, a major jump, with GMB receiving 156,144 tonnes of winter wheat from the farmers it had contracted and around 95,000 tonnes grown by the rest of the wheat farmers to give a total harvest of over 250,000 tonnes.
Last year, farmers achieved close to seven tonnes a hectare and a surplus of 74,000 tonnes will be achieved if the farmers can attain that feat this year.
The government set wheat prices at around ZWL$43,000 per tonne of standard wheat and premium grade at around ZWL$53,000 per tonne.
However, with a volatile environment, there is a huge likelihood of the government reviewing wheat prices upwards.
The official winter wheat planting window kicked off on April 1 and ended mid-June.