Winter wheat planting is underway with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement intensifying training of farmers on important agronomic practices to boost yields.
Farmers have planted 240 hectares with most of them self-financed.
Distribution of inputs has also been intensified in all wheat growing areas.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos yesterday said they had received positive reports on progress of the winter cropping season.
“Some farmers around the country have already planted. I visited farmers in Mashonaland West province last week where I saw wheat that had already been planted well over a week prior and was already germinating.
“We are now into the ideal planting dates which as you know are from 1 May until 15 May.
“Deliveries have now been fast-tracked with a substantial amount of inputs being delivered over the weekend to ensure that the remaining farmers can plant their winter wheat crop in time.
“This year the support under the CBZ Agro-yield funded Command Programme will be in the form of wheat seed, fertilisers, chemicals and fuel.
“Our dams are 92 percent full which means almost all irrigation schemes will have adequate water for irrigation,” he said.
Agritex acting chief director Mr Stancilae Tapererwa said so far more than 2 000 farmers had registered for the CBZ Agroyield scheme which is expected to see 60 000 hectares being put under wheat.
“Currently Agritex teams are on the round verifying applications. CBZ has started pushing in fuel, seed and fertiliser.
“Procurement of inputs under the Presidential Inputs Scheme is underway. Our teams are out in all wheat growing areas training farmers on planting, calibration of planting machines, fertiliser application and disease control among other important agronomic practices.
“We are encouraging farmers to plant by end of May which is the major planting window to realise optimum yields,” he said.
A target of 340 000 tonnes of wheat has been set for the coming winter cropping season, the first time since commercial wheat farming started in the 1960s.
Targeted tonnage is going to meet national requirements and rule out imports.
The country requires 360 000 tonnes of wheat annually. The largest single harvest in history was in 1990 when 325 000 tonnes were harvested.
The 2021 winter cropping season is expected to be the second best season in 51 years, since 1970.
The Ministry envisages that 85 000 hectares will be put under winter wheat this year.
During this season, 60 000 hectares will be produced through a Government guaranteed CBZ Agro-Yield programme, 15 000 hectares will be funded by private contractors and 10 000 hectares will be funded through the Presidential Winter Wheat Scheme.