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Government targets increased wheat hectarage to boost food security

Government targets increased wheat hectarage to boost food security

Story by Tapiwa Machemedze

FARMERS have set their sights on boosting production through the winter wheat crop as government targets to increase the area planted from just over 90 thousand hectares last season to 120 thousand hectares.

Boosting wheat production has been identified as one of the effective ways of increasing food stocks after drought hammered the summer crop.

Farmers like Mr Felix Mazivarimwe of Bindura who planted 20 hectares of soya bean were forced to reduce their normal hectarage by the drought and are now banking on timely distribution of wheat inputs to stabilise production.

“I expect around 20 April I will be harvesting my soya beans using a combine because I planted this soya on 15 November. After harvesting I will disc and water the field. By the end of April I should have finished disking the field. We are just waiting to see if ARDA will avail inputs on time. Have done that 15 May all the wheat should have germinated,” he said.

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development is on the ground working with farmers to ensure they plant during the optimum planting window, stretching from the last week of April to the end of May.

“I also want to encourage our farmers to start preparing now to make sure that those with irrigation and those who can establish irrigation, to go to their fields and prepare for the production of wheat, we need to produce a lot of food in our country, we need to produce excess food in our country and export excess food so that we can get foreign currency and as we go forward I know we will make it,” said the Provincial Director in Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries Water and Rural Development, Mr Nhamo Mudada.

The government has been accelerating irrigation development to ensure all water bodies are utilised to scale up wheat production.

Mashonaland Central has the second highest target of wheat acreage at 28 thousand hectares, while Mashonaland West has the highest at 34 thousand hectares.

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