By Tapiwa Machemedze
WHEAT farmers are on the verge of record production after planting 69 000 hectares of wheat against a revised national target of 80 000.
The growers have so far surpassed last year’s hectarage of 67 000.
Farmers in Shamva highlighted some of the challenges impeding full capacity such as vandalism and machinery breakdowns during a tour by Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka this Thursday.
“I planted about five hectares of wheat and I’m still planting. I got inputs for two hectares under the Pfumvudza scheme, the only challenge is that my pump is constantly breaking down and I don’t have sufficient working capital to acquire a new one,” said an A1 Farmer, Leon Makossa.
“We are faced with vandalism of Zesa transformers and theft of pipes from our centre pivot, every week we have theft so that is really a problem,” noted an A2 Farmer, Scott Bean.
Minister Masuka said the country has no option but to increase wheat output to record levels this year as 30 percent of world supply has been cut off due to Russia’s Special Military Operation in Ukraine.
“We have had a progressive increase of wheat from 34 000 in 2018, and 69 000 have been planted as of this morning. This morning we also revised the target to 80 000 hectares so that we get enough wheat to meet local demand because we are expecting an additional hectarage to be planted. This will be the first time since independence. We also need to look at whatever has been planted as technocrats, so that we deploy our skills to get optimum output from every hectare,” said Minister Masuka.
Agritex officers are on the ground monitoring and assisting farmers to finalise wheat planting by this Sunday to ensure prime output.