Wheat farmers have been urged to use the recently acquired combine harvesters to speed up harvesting and protect the crop from the early rains.
Government recently acquired combine harvesters under the US$51 million John Deere programme and the US$51 Belarus mechanisation facility.
The combine harvesters are part of the facilities launched by President Mnangagwa to mechanise and transform the agriculture sector and ensure food security.
Harvesting of the early-planted wheat has started and there were fears that the crop could be affected by early rains.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Mr Shadreck Makombe yesterday said harvesting of wheat was underway and the whole crop was not under threat from the early rains.
“This will depend on the stage of growth and also the rains,” he said. “We are grateful that the combine harvesters are on the ground although the numbers are still low. Farmers should run around on time to secure combine harvesters so that their crop will not be affected.
“Rains can compromise the quality of wheat and the crop may end up being channelled towards stock feeds.”
Mr Makombe said in some areas the crop could benefit from these rains.
“The demand for combine harvesters is high, but farmers can also make own initiatives,” he said. “They can also source help from private operators.”
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union vice president, Mr Edward Dune, said they welcomed combine harvesters from Belarus and the Agribank facility that handles the John Deere machinery.
“The machinery is going to improve harvesting of the crop,” he said. “The degree of the damage of the crop will differ. Some farmers were still irrigating and the rains will help them while those whose crop had matured may have challenges.” Farmers have started delivering wheat to the Grain Marketing Board depots.
By last Friday, GMB had received 8 115 tonnes of wheat and more deliveries are expected as harvesting progresses.