The wheat harvest has surpassed the 300 000 tonnes mark as over 96 percent of the crop has been reaped. Agritex director, Mr Stancilae Tapererwa, said harvesting of the winter wheat should have been completed as the rainfall season has started. He said to date, 96 percent of the 63 781 hectares planted, have seen 329 675 tonnes of wheat being harvested so far.
In the weekly crop and livestock update, Mr Tapererwa said under the Agro-Yield (Command Agriculture) now called the National Enhanced Agricultural Productivity Scheme (NEAPS), 44 295 hectares were planted and of these, 43 389ha have been harvested at an average yield of 5,3 tonnes per hectare. So far, 229 855 tonnes of wheat have been harvested from the Agro-Yield programme. Farmers under the Presidential Inputs Scheme planted 5 477ha and have harvested 4 836ha so far at an average yield of 2,7 tonnes per hectare.
From the Presidential Scheme, farmers have harvested 13 003 tonnes. Mr Tapererwa said 16 662ha were planted under the private sector scheme and 15 555ha have been harvested an average yield of 5,6 tonnes per hectare. So far, 86 817 tonnes of wheat have come from the private sector. Meanwhile, the Grain Marketing Board has received 198 483 tonnes of wheat from farmers.
The bulk of the wheat being delivered is premium grade. Government has been targeting increases in wheat production to meet the national requirement in line with the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, the Agriculture Recovery Plan and the National Development Strategy 1 and in pursuit of the vision of becoming an empowered and prosperous upper middle income society by 2030.
After last year’s major jump in the size of the harvest, another year of gain should see Zimbabwe achieving self-sufficiency for the first time ever. Last season farmers produced wheat enough to take the country for nine months and this season they are expected to harvest more than 300 000 tonnes. The country requires 360 000 tonnes of the cereal annually to ensure steady availability of bread and other confectionaries.
During the 2021 winter cropping season, 66 435,86 hectares were put under wheat, registering the third highest hectarage since Independence and is only surpassed by plantings in 2004 (70 585ha) and 2005 (67 261ha).