Govt sets target for winter wheat cropping 

Source: Govt sets target for winter wheat cropping –Newsday Zimbabwe

Lands, Water, Agriculture and Rural Development minister Anxious Masuka revealed this in the National Assembly while responding to questions from legislators.

Government has set a target to cultivate 120 000 hectares of wheat and 7 000 hectares of barley for the upcoming winter cropping season, with US$27 million also needed to revive irrigation schemes at underutilised farms.

Lands, Water, Agriculture and Rural Development minister Anxious Masuka revealed this in the National Assembly while responding to questions from legislators.

“For the forthcoming winter cropping, a total of 137 000ha with functional irrigation has been identified with intentions to establish at least 120 000 ha under wheat and 7 000ha under barley,” Masuka said.

“Some 16 000ha are requiring quick-fix rehabilitation in the form of power infrastructure, pumps, centre pivots and pipes have also been identified.

“To bring these farms back to irrigation functionality, at least US$27 million is required and resources are currently being mobilised.”

He said the ministry had running facilities with AFC and CBZ banks, which farmers can tap into for the purposes of accessing irrigation equipment.

“Furthermore, our irrigation alliance with the private sector will help us surpass these targets in the very near future,” Masuka said.

According to Masuka, an inter-ministerial taskforce has been established to deal with the energy power crisis to ensure that there are no disruptions to the winter crop farming.

The taskforce comprises ministries of Lands Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, the Energy and Power Development and Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.

Masuka said the taskforce had jointly identified clusters for the purposes of ensuring that energy provision is ring-fenced and prioritised.

“The Energy and Power Development ministry has reassured us that we will have enough power to irrigate our targeted winter cropping programme,” he said.

Masuka recently said farmers harvested 457 000 tonnes of wheat in 2023 with average yield of between 5,1 and 5,3 tonnes per hectare.

Wheat was planted on 90 998 hectares and harvested from 88 000 hectares.

Domestic demand for wheat is about 360 000 tonnes per year.

Wheat is widely consumed by more than 10 million people in Zimbabwe, mostly as bread.

Daily bread production is estimated at 850 000 loaves, with monthly wheat consumption of about 25 000 tonnes.

For the last two decades, Zimbabwe has blended imported wheat from Russia, Canada and Australia with local wheat for production of bread flour.

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