By Tafara Chikumira
GOVERNMENT is upbeat the country will meet its national wheat requirements for the first time in many years after surpassing its wheat hectarage target for this year.
After a record 80 000 hectares were put under wheat this season up from the 34 000 in 2019, government is confident of satisfying national requirements.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka, who was leading a government delegation to assess the crop in Kwekwe this Friday, is upbeat that the country will meet its national requirements for the first time in many years.
“It is indeed history in the making. We have since put the biggest hectarage ever witnessed in this country. We have put in place a number of interventions and the level of response by farmers is exceptional. The Midlands Province is doing very well and we are happy. We are increasing their target to 10 000 hectares after such a successful season. We are witnessing farming being carried out as a business and this is the thrust of the Second Republic,” he said.
Midlands Province set a target of 6 200 hectares for winter wheat this season, but it has since surpassed the target by over 1 000 hectares.
Host farmer Mr Duncan Kwande who has 750 hectares under wheat this season underscored the importance of investing in value addition mechanisms to derive maximum benefits from farm produce.
“Farming is a serious business which requires a lot of attention. What I have done is to employ an industrial engineer as my manager. I am running a big business and as such it needs people who are professional. After I do this wheat I sell it to GMB and have a partnership with them so that I monitor the product before buying it from the national grain reserve. Value addition is the only way to go if farmers are to enjoy the fruits of their work,” he explained.
Government had set a national target of 75 000 hectares for wheat this season but managed to surpass it by more than 4 000 hectares after different intervention measures by stakeholders.