By Wellington Makonese
The winter wheat planting season has come to an end with the country recording a significant increase in terms of the targeted hectarage.
A total of 65 000 hectares of wheat have been planted this year surpassing last year’s 44 600.
Mashonaland Central province which had a target of 16 000 hectares is joint top with Manicaland province.
“It is good, but not good enough. As a province I’m happy that you are number one, but preparedness for winter starts with preparedness for summer which will enable transition smoothly. The plan is to have summer correctly,”
“Illegal mining activities along water points and vandalism have been a threat to the provincial target,” said Dr Anxious Masuka, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water Fisheries and Rural Resettlement.
“Our hectarage is affected by vandalism – transformers being stolen, and also pipes, which then limit us in attainment of set targets,” said the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Mashonaland Central, Honourable Monica Mavhunga.
Despite the setback farmers are determined and looking forward to an improved yield.
“With this variety, we are talking about 6 to 7 tonnes per hectare. This year we took this variety and we moved from 30 hectares to 50. We are expecting more than last year,” said Tatenda Jaji of Athlone Farm in Bindura.
Zimbabwe has an annual wheat requirement of 360 000 metric tonnes which can be met through government’s capacity building initiatives such as mechanisation and input support schemes