Zim surpasses wheat target

By Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

ZIMBABWE has surpassed the 75 thousand hectare target for the wheat crop, amid hopes of achieving national food self-sufficiency.

In a post cabinet media briefing in Harare this Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa revealed that 100 percent of the targeted wheat hectarage has been planted so far, with government putting in place measures to ensure maximum production.

“Regarding the 2022 Winter Wheat Production, the nation is informed that the target was to plant 75 000 hectares and produce 383 000 MT, which will be  sufficient  to meet the countrys needs. Despite challenges with the late start of commencement of the winter season due to a delayed summer rainfall season, the area planted to date is 100% of the target,” said Senator Mutsvangwa.

“Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that there are enough fertilizers and chemicals to support winter wheat production. Some 100 megawatts of electricity have been ring-fenced for farmers and are exempt from load shedding, while Petro Trade availed 750 000 litres of fuel to be distributed through the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA). Adequate measures have also been put in place to control quelea birds.”

Cabinet also received a report on the 2022 tobacco marketing season.

“Pertaining to tobacco marketing, a total of 152 million kg valued at US$456.47 million has been sold to date. The average price at the Auction is US$3.19/kg, compared to US$2.81/kg in 2021.

“Tobacco merchants have exported 75 300 000 kg of tobacco valued at US$359 934 000, compared to 65 500 000 kg valued at US$258 725 000 exported during the same period the previous year. The target volume for the 2022/23 season is 275 million kg from 135 000 hectares, with 96% of the production being under contract.”

Cabinet further adopted the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee 2022 Rural Livelihoods Assessment Report which outlines some of the mitigatory measures put in place by government to uplift the rural populace.

The government continues to assist the vulnerable to acquire education through the Basic Education Assistance Model (BEAM).

“In education, 83.8% of school-going children were in school compared to the 77% recorded in 2021,” said Senator Mutsvangwa.

“The Government assisted 560 000 learners through the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM), and reiterates its standing policy that no learner should be turned away for non-payment of school fees. Pertaining to early marriages, Government will robustly monitor the legislation under the Marriages Act, while incorporating the local leadership in educational, publicity and awareness programmes in communities.”

Other pertinent issues discussed during this week’s cabinet include the cotton marketing season, strides been made by government in addressing issues of drug and substance abuse and employment creation for youths.