Over 13 000 tractors for summer cropping season

The GOVERNMENT has mobilized more than 13 000 tractors that will be deployed for the 2023-2024 summer cropping season, as authorities pull out all the stops to secure yet another bumper grain harvest.

This comes as the distribution of inputs to farmers, which began on Independence Day in Mt Darwin, Mashonaland Central Province, has been intensified to ensure they reach farmers before the onset of the rains.

Traditionally, the distribution of inputs under Government support schemes starts in November, a development that has often been criticized for crippling farmers’ preparations.

According to the Government’s summer cropping season plan, the authorities are targeting cereal production of 3,7 million tonnes (3 060 000 tonnes of maize and 715 728 tonnes of traditional grains), which is enough to meet the country’s consumption requirements.

Department of Agricultural Engineering, Mechanisation and Soil Conservation chief director Engineer Edwin Zimunga said: “We have 13 500 tractors with their attachments (ploughs, planters, etc) at the farmers’ disposal.

“At least 249 out of the targeted 300 combines are ready to harvest the winter wheat crop before smoothly transitioning to the summer crop.

“The AFC (Agricultural Finance Corporation) Leasing Company has a fleet of 630 tractors and 54 combine harvesters.

“Additionally, other entities with tractors are DDF (now Rural Infrastructure Development Agency), ARDA (Agricultural and Rural Development Authority), and the private sector, which has additional hiring capacity.

“This is adequate for the targeted hectarage under summer tillage.”

Timely access to the equipment, said Eng Zimunga, will significantly boost production and productivity.

“The Government saw it imperative that farmers access mechanization services on time to secure the projected bumper harvest,” he said.

Zimbabwe last year expanded its fleet of farm mechanisation equipment to over 10 800 tractors and 189 combine harvesters, from 7 000 tractors in 2019.

The fleet has been enhanced further this year.

A bilateral deal between Zimbabwe and Belarus struck in 2018 has witnessed the country rapidly expand its farm mechanization program through the supply of farm equipment and training of local farmers in cultivation, seeding, irrigation, and crop harvesting.

Agricultural Advisory and Rural Development Services (AARDS) chief director Professor Obert Jiri said mechanization of production must be complemented by good agronomic practices.

He encouraged farmers to undertake land preparation early.

“The target areas for the major crops have only been increased by 10 percent,” he said.

“Our major thrust is to increase production per unit area, rather than drastically expand the cultivated area.

“Early input distribution is key and so all efforts are being directed towards that.

“As a lead ministry, we have set new records, but, as we go into the new season, we are aiming to surpass previous records for all crops.”

Overall, about two million ha will be put under maize production; sorghum (418 000ha); pearl millet (275 000ha); finger millet (27 500ha); soya bean (77 000ha); sunflower (160 000ha) and cotton (270 000ha).

Meanwhile, more than 3,5 million beneficiaries will receive input support from the Government under the Presidential Conservation Agriculture Inputs Scheme (Pfumvudza/Intwasa).

To curb the abuse of inputs from the scheme, the Government has introduced a new digital system to capture the distribution matrix.

The initiative is part of the ministry’s stance of going paperless through the use of digital applications. 

This year, beneficiaries will sign up on the application before receiving the support.

Already, input distribution committees have been set up in every ward.

The distribution of inputs under this scheme will target households that have carried out pre-qualifying requirements: potholing or ripping a minimum of three plots each of 624m2 (0.0624ha), liming or organic matter placement, and mulch collection for at least one plot.

GMB depots will ensure that households receive inputs that are suitable for their specific agro-ecological region.

During the 2023/2024 season, each extension officer has been tasked with establishing a farmer field school in each village. These are learning centers for farmers.

In total, 35,000 farmer field schools will be established. Under the Private Sector Financing Programme, which is being anchored by the Food Crop Contractors Association, farmers will receive support to produce various grains on over 90 000ha, comprising 44 226ha for maize, 40 770ha of soya beans and 11 020ha for sorghum.

Zim lines up 40 000 tonnes maize exports

Zimbabwe is ready to resume grain exports this year with initial exports of 40 000 tonnes of grain to East Africa from the substantial surpluses grown by the farmers as the Second Republic’s agriculture policies continue to guarantee good harvests.

Wheat exports are also being considered after Zimbabwe attained self-sufficiency for the first time last year and should be reaping a significant surplus over the next few months.

Zimbabwe used to be a reliable source of export maize but in more recent years, until the Second Republic’s agricultural expansion policy kicked in, had been a maize importer. Some wheat at least had to be imported each year until last year’s harvest was delivered, ending imports.

The huge expansion in harvests has not only produced exportable surpluses of grain, after all local consumption needs are met both by farmers and the nation, but required carryover stocks and reserves to cope with a serious drought, but is also creating a very large rural middle class of farmers who are earning ever larger incomes, a vital requirement if Zimbabwe is to achieve upper middle income status by 2030.

This season Zimbabwe has so far harvested more than 2,3 million tonnes of maize and 300 000 tonnes of traditional grains and there is carryover stock of 300 000 tonnes of maize from the previous season, so exports now become possible again.

In the coming summer cropping season, the Government is targeting a cereal production of 3,7 million tonnes to ensure national food and nutrition security. The target cultivated areas for the major crops has been increased by only 10 percent since the major thrust of the ministry is to increase production per unit area, rather than drastically expand the cultivated area.

The agriculture sector has already hit the initial 2025 target of becoming an US$8,2 billion industry. This target was achieved in 2021, when the industry grew by 36,2 percent.

Zimbabwe needs around 2,2 million tonnes of maize a year, both for family and consumption of the farmers who grow it and for the rest of the country, which comes out of the grain sold by farmers, almost all to the Grain Marketing Board.

Speaking during the Mashonaland Central Province Agricultural Show in Bindura last Friday, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary Dr John Basera said maize exports by the country is a milestone for Zimbabwe, which was recently a food importer owing to persistent droughts.

“After the promulgation and indeed the rolling out of the agricultural recovery growth plan we are projecting a surplus this year in 2022/ 2023 season and we are projecting a harvest of 2,9 million tonnes of summer cereals. These are against an annual requirement of 2,2 million tonnes and leaving a surplus of around 600 tonnes. We are at the prospects of exporting.

We are also targeting central Africa. We have enquiries in countries in central Africa and we will be exporting over 40 000 tonnes of cereals or maize to East Africa this year.

We are also looking at the prospects of exporting wheat this year.” The country is moving ahead on several fronts to ensure that land reform becomes a resounding success by making sure farmers have the inputs and backing to push production to new heights, far higher than what was produced before the reforms.

Now land reform, which gave a lot of farmer’s access to land, has been matched with the agriculture and food systems transformation strategy which ensures they can use that land effectively to increase production. The strategy is a composite plan of action drawn from the agriculture recovery and livestock growth plans.

Agricultural transformation is on course with the Government introducing Pfumvudza, Command Agriculture, contract farming and corporate farming as ways to boost the agricultural and industrial revolution which saw Zimbabwe’s transformation taking less than 20 years after the introduction of the land reform.

Dr Basera indicated that wheat and maize did well as the agriculture recovery plan seeks to reverse the negative trends in terms of food production in Zimbabwe.

“This is actually happening for the first time in many years after the land reform programme. This signifies that the land reform programme was a necessity and is indeed a big success,” Dr Basera.

Dr Basera applauded Mashonaland Central for contributing quite significantly in food production.

“Mashonaland Central is number 2 in food production while Mashonaland West is number 1 This year they also contributed significantly as well maybe up to 15 up to 20 percent of the total hectarage achieved this year,” he said.

Zimbabwe is targeting 3 040 000 hectares for strategic crops with an expected yield of 3 782 658 tonnes.

Good rainfall patterns received this season was the major contributor of bumper harvests.

Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust Mrs. Depinah Nkomo said this year farmers produced a good harvest in maize and other crops compared to last year, adding that the rainfall received was normal in most areas. “I believe that next season we are going to produce the best results again on our crops, especially maize,” she said.

“Most farmers planted the majority of crops in early November and most of these crops matured well. This also contributed positively to the growth of our crops. Farmers planted on time and we received good rainfalls. We were looking towards exports. This showed that farmers worked well and the Government showed its commitment by providing inputs and other services vital for crop production. We thank the Government for its contribution,’’ she said.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union (ZCFU) president Dr Shadreck Makombe said a maize bumper harvest was inevitable because of good rains received and the preparedness of farmers.

Tobacco Farmers Union Trust vice president Mr Edward Dune said the future of maize production was great following the participation of private buyers. “We are optimistic that next year we can achieve the target if private players also come to partner the Government in farming.

“This is critical for our country because food security is an important part of our lives. We must stock up our reserves.”

Mrs. Miriam Mapfiro of Bindura thanked the Government for timeous distribution of Pfumvudza inputs adding that this has largely benefited vulnerable groups who struggled to make ends meet.

“Government has rescued many households. We are grateful for this support. Getting inputs on time meant a good harvest,” she said.

Another farmer Mr Takudzwa Munyeya of Muonwe in Bindura said Government’s commitment towards helping farmers needs to be appreciated as it symbolises great hope.

He said the massive roll out of the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme had increased the country’s food self-sufficiency levels and food security.

“This is a commendable effort made by the Government. We were given inputs on time, that’s why this time we achieved a bumper harvest,” he said.

Zim on cusp of recouping ‘Breadbasket of Africa’ status

THE country is firmly on course to reclaim its ‘Breadbasket of Africa’ status as the Government’s cocktail of interventions to boost agricultural production and achieve food self-sufficiency, as well as produce surplus for export, have started yielding positive results setting the stage for the country to resume grain exports.

Speaking at a winter wheat field day in Banket recently, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development permanent secretary Dr John Basera said the surplus being achieved in production output for strategic crops had resulted in Zimbabwe unlocking the export market.“Significant growth is being recorded in maize production, the horticulture sector and wheat industry following a record winter wheat harvest last year,” said Dr Basera.

The country has received more than 350 000 tonnes of maize export requests and will start by moving 40 000 tonnes to Rwanda, while processing a request from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).“Zimbabwe has adequate grains in stock for the next two seasons as we have managed to produce 2, 3 million tonnes this year with a carry-over stock of 300 000 tonnes from the previous season,” said Dr Basera.

The country will therefore start exporting wheat in the region this year with an expected harvest of 430 000 tonnes from a record 86 000 hectares.Dr Basera said the country was taking advantage of the wheat markets that are in Mozambique, adding that disturbances of the global supply chain from the Eastern Europe conflict necessitated Africa to look more inward in terms of production.

The success being recorded in the sector is a result of Government’s Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, which has managed to propel the country’s food production through increased productivity and maximum land utilisation.

Dr Basera said Zimbabwe had realised significant smart and sharp growth in the agriculture sector to make the country food secure and achieve surplus.“We had planned to grow at this magnitude in five years but we managed to realise that progression in two seasons and now we are looking to grow our exports to boost earnings in agriculture,” he said.

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development has made significant strides in improving the competitiveness of the country’s agricultural products through innovation and research.In addition, the country’s horticultural exports are also set to grow this year owing to growing desire among producers to venture into export business amid the rising interest from buyers to source from local producers.

“In a space of five years’ horticultural exports have increased quite significantly from US$30 million to US$70 million in earnings this year,” said Dr Basera.Under the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, the country has managed to reverse the negative trends of food production in the country experienced since the land reform programme.

GMB conmen alert.


1. The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) would like to warn the public from falling prey to conmen who are purporting to be employees of the parastatal and could facilitate them in getting foreign currency.

2. In one particular incident, a certain farmer that we cannot name on professional grounds, was approached by a man purporting to be an Accounting Officer in GMB and could facilitate payment for grain in USD in exchange of RTGS.

3. However, after depositing the money into a given account the man started being evasive and finally disappeared.

4. It is also in the public interest to know that GMB does not have agencies for the procurement and payment of grain.

5. In this vein, we also advise members of the public to report suspicious people claiming to be GMB employees to any GMB Depot and any nearest Police Station.

6. For Further inquiries the farmers can contact GMB Corporate Communications Department through the hotline telephone line 0242-701898 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Zim ready to export wheat this year

Zimbabwe will start exporting wheat in the region this year as the Second Republic’s Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy and other related policies continue to bear fruit.

Currently, the wheat stocks are around 140 000 tonnes and farmers will be harvesting around 420 000 tonnes of wheat from the 86 000 hectares of wheat planted in the country, well above the national requirement and the need for a decent carry-over stock.

Since wheat is 100 percent irrigated, the huge reserves needed for maize and traditional grains to cope with a major drought are not needed for wheat, hence this is likely to be the first grain to be exported.

Last season the country managed to break all the records since the production of wheat started in 1966 where Zimbabwe achieved 375 000 tonnes of wheat last year from 81 000 ha. Speaking during a wheat field day held at Middlepose farm in Makoni district, Permanent Secretary for Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and rural Development Dr John Basera said the agriculture recovery growth plan had reverses the negative trends in terms of food production in the country.

He said wheat exports should start as soon as possible adding that farmers should employ good agronomic practices to enhance wheat productivity.

“Our plan was to achieve wheat self-sufficiency at all costs. Currently in about three to four months we will start to export wheat in October to November. We need import substitution because we keep saving our hard foreign currency so that we create more jobs because the moment we import container loads of grain or wheat we are exporting container loads of jobs. We are food secure as a country so we need food security first as one of the fundamental start up building blocks for the growth of our economy,” he said.

“Good agronomic practices are the only ways to increase productivity so we need to be targeting to export our first tonne of wheat this year. We are now coming back as the bread basket of Southern Africa,” he said.

Recently, Dr Basera said farmers should take advantage of the wheat markets that are in Mozambique adding that the geopolitical conflicts in the Eastern Europe also taught Africa to look more inward since Russia and Ukraine control 30 percent of the global wheat exports.

Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution responsible for Manicaland Cde Nokuthula Matsikenyere applauded Manicaland for participating and contributing immensely in food security in farming and horticulture.

“This season we had a target of 10 000 hectares of wheat but we surpassed our target and we have 11 867ha which is quite remarkable. I would like to thank President Mnangagwa for supplying fertilisers and seed for wheat production and other support programmes. What we are geared now is higher yields of the planted crops. Let’s work together and get higher yields in our crops and in preparation for summer,” she said.

Seed Co Zimbabwe head of agronomy services Mrs Wendy Madzura said it is important to employ good agronomic practices to any cropping venture to unlock the value.“When wheat is at the vegetative stage, booting to heading stage, we encourage our framers to employ good agronomic practices by following acronym FINAL which means fertilisation, irrigation, nurturing followed by analysis coupled with love for your crop and environment so in fertiliser management farmers should understand that it contributes to the quality and quantity of the crop.

She said the irrigation schedule should depend on the soil type with sandy soils needing more frequent visits with more water since it loose more water faster than clay soils.Farmers this year are optimistic that a good harvest is ahead of them because of the availability of water and electricity supplies.

Mrs Monica Mukaro of Makoni South in ward 25 indicted that she is looking ahead for harvest.“This season there is a possibility of achieving more, so far no disruptions on electricity, we are irrigating well. So we are still working with agronomists and extension workers so as to increase productivity,” she said. Middlepose farm manager Mr Tatenda Mhuru said this season he is expecting six tonnes per hectare.“We are expecting better yields this season compared to the previous season. We managed to take our soils to testing so we are sure this season we can make it,” he said.

This season Government is well prepared in supporting wheat better than the previous seasons as it is working closely with important stakeholders such as ZESA and ZINWA to ensure that there is uninterrupted power supply as well enough water for irrigation to maintain wheat surpluses.