By Kenias Chivuzhe
GOVERNMENT is putting in place measures that will increase wheat production with Manicaland Province setting up new targets for wheat production during the 2023 season.
After having surpassed its wheat production target in terms of hectarage, Manicaland seeks to further increase its wheat target from 10 000 hectares to 11 000 hectares.
Mrs Phillipa Rwambiwa, Acting Director in the Department of Agricultural, Technical and Extension Services spoke on this season wheat success story for the province, underscoring the importance of increasing support by both government and the financial sector.
“This year, our target was 10 000 and we did 10 160 hectares and this is 101 percent of our target. If our banks manage to contract more farmers, we will hit next year’s target of 11 000 hectares. Some of the communal farmers are getting more than 5 tonnes per hectares and if we increase support to them, we can ramp up production,” she said.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka says he is happy with Manicaland Province ’s wheat production adding that measures are being put in place to further improve capacity and smoothen summer to winter cropping season transition.
“GMB has 20 dryers, last year we had seven operational dryers so we have improved capacity. We also want to buy other bigger static dryers so that the 20 dryers we have at GMB deports become mobile dryers. Summer preparedness determines winter preparedness. If the season is late there is need to deploy dryers to quicken transition from summer to winter. This will increase wheat hectarage. We are also going to increasing funding,” said Dr Masuka.
Turning to summer season preparedness, Dr Masuka highlighted that more support is being channelled towards the Pfumvudza programme as government rolls out its mechanisation process.
“We are going to mechanise the Pfumvudza programme. We need 25 000 two-wheel tractors. We have initially ordered 600 and 70 have arrived and we will be distributing them soon. We are targeting to mechanise the Pfumvudza programme. We have now agreed at the total hectarage by province and come up with figures on the amounts required to finance summer. That is the package we are looking at so that we finance summer,” he added.
Government is also increasing support towards the growing of traditional grains to improve food security with farmer field schools expected to be set up in all the villages in the country.