75 000 ha targeted for winter wheat

By John Nhandara

Government has put in place four financing schemes for the forthcoming winter wheat season with a target of 75 000 hectares.

This came out as stakeholders in the agricultural sector held a field open day at the Agricultural Research Trust (ART) farm in Harare this Thursday, showcasing seed varieties and crops.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr John Basera indicated that the country has set a target of producing more than 350 000 metric tonnes of wheat, enough to meet the country’s annual requirements of the cereal crop.

Bhasera also gave a breakdown of the hectarage which is being financed through four schemes.

“We have a target of at least 75 000 hectares and our financing initiatives include Agro Yields financing almost 50 percent, AFC over 10 000 hectares, the private sector 23 percent…” he said.

Government is also expediting irrigation development, with 200 000 hectares of the targeted 350 000 hectares now under irrigation.

“We are now moving away from relying on rain fed agriculture and expediting irrigation development where we have also invited private player participation. Currently, we have 200 000 hectares under irrigation but our target is 350 to 400 000,” Vangelis Haritatos, the Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development said.

Farmers and service providers took the opportunity to showcase their products and varieties at the open day, pledging to complement government’s efforts in spurring growth in the Agricultural Value Chain.