BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
GOVERNMENT is projecting barley hectarage to increase to 360 000 in the next three years up from the current 7 000 hectares owing to an accelerated irrigation plan that has been put in place, a government official has said.
“We have accelerated the irrigation plan, we envisage that we will have 360 000 hectares irrigable in the next three years. So there is, indeed, no competition, but they just need to rationalise the two crops. So, I expect that if there is an export market, we must see more barley being grown in the country,” Lands minister Anxious Masuka said at a Delta Corporation barley field day at Resurge Farm in Selous on Friday.
Masuka disclosed that government has issued a directive to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) to have measuring devices that would ensure farmers are charged for the water they use.
“Per hectare of wheat, Zinwa charges 8,5 mega litres and for barley it charges 7,5 mega litres. However, they are efficient farmers such as this one who use 4,5 to 5 mega litres per hectare so they must not be charged the extra they have not utilised.
“There must be measuring devices to ensure that farmers can increase their viability by being charged for what they have exactly utilised and this is a directive that we have issued to Zinwa.”
Resurge Farm is owned by a Percival Mazike, who has been on a contract farming arrangement with Delta since 2004.
“So, Delta, through this value chain financing has already created national self-sufficiency in terms of barley, but more importantly we now have surplus to export. The notion has always been that barley competes with awheat for the same land.”
Delta group chief executive Matlhogonolo Valela said they were targeting to harvest not less than 36 000 tonnes of barley on contracted land.
“This year we expect to harvest not less than 36 000 tonnes of barley from contracted land. We are funding that from various stages as the farmer goes in terms of land preparation and so on,” he said.