Mash Eash targets 12 000 winter wheat
Marondera (New Ziana) – Mashonaland East province is targeting to put 12 000 hectares under winter wheat, with Goromonzi and Marondera districts expected to provide the biggest hectarage as always.
The figure includes 6 615 hectares contracted to 232 farmers.
Disclosing the figures, provincial agriculture extension officer Leonard Munamati said the majority of the wheat farmers were still planting, with only 1 434 hectares planted to date.
“The winter wheat season is now in full swing and at the moment, the majority of our farmers are planting, having received their fertilizer and seed inputs mid-April. They also received fuel cards and we hope to meet our provincial winter wheat target of 12 000 hectares,” he said.
“It has to be put on record that this time around, farmers received their inputs on time and they collected, or are collecting them from Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots in their districts where they carry out their farming activities unlike in the past when some had to source for the inputs in other districts, thereby jeopardising their farming operations.
“We expect Goromonzi and Marondera districts to provide the highest hectarage as has been the case in recent seasons. On the other hand, there are farmers who are still preparing their land as they have just harvested their other crops such as soya beans, and tobacco, among others,” said Munamati.
He also urged farmers to ensure that they plant their wheat for the winter season before the end of this month.
While acknowledging that the national power utility had confirmed that it will prioritize wheat farmers when it rations electricity, Munamati said the major challenge that most farmers were facing this season is that of a shortage of water.
He said: “Several farmers reduced their winter wheat hectarage owing to shortages of water for irrigation purposes. Most dams have low water levels. We also have farmers who had dumped wheat farming because of the high costs that were associated with hiring combine harvesters but the government has since chipped in by initiating a programme that will see it providing combine harvesters to the farmers.”