Wheat harvesting commences next month

By John Nhandara

Forty-seven combine harvesters have been distributed to cluster centres across the country, while more than forty have been distributed to individuals as government prepares for wheat harvesting which commences next month.

Government has therefore assured farmers that there are adequate combine harvesters to ensure an efficient harvesting process before the onset of the rainy season.

Some of the combine harvesters were given to AFC Holdings for onward leasing to farmers.

Government also entered into farm mechanisation development alliances with private players who will complement the existing fleet to ensure smooth wheat harvesting.

“All wheat farmers are in a position to access combine harvester because they have formed 22 clusters centers across the country. So, we have distributed 47 combine harvesters to these cluster centres. More than forty combine harvesters have also been distributed to individuals through local banks and they will also help other farmers,” the Deputy Director for Agricultural Engineering and Mechanisation in the Ministry of Agriculture, Engineer Harrison Bhasikoro said.

Meanwhile, government is targeting to increase its current fleet of 260 combine harvesters to 300 by the end of the year through various facilities, including the Belarus Farm Mechanisation Scheme.

“According to our inventory the country is sitting at 260 functioning combine harvesters and we hope before the end of the year we will have 300 combine harvesters as we seek to build our fleet. We want to reach our estimated national demand of 600 combine harvesters. We have received six combine harvesters under the Belarus farm mechanisation facility and we hope to receive 10 more before the end of the year,” he added.

The country requires about 400 000 tonnes of wheat per annum and this year farmers planted more than 85 000 hectares of the cereal crop.