Makonde (New Ziana)- Mashonaland West province has registered a 36 percent increase in winter wheat planted this season, as 14 810 hectares have been put under the crop compared to 9 300 hectares last season.
Speaking at Reinfield farm in Makonde district during a field to review progress in planting the crop, Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka said the season had seen a marked increase in the wheat planted.
“It is important to note that wheat that has been established this season is 36 percent more than what was established in the previous season. Last year we had a total of about 9 300 hectares against the 14 810 hectares planted this year. The bulk of the crop is at grain filling stage and is in good condition,” she said.
About 85 percent of the crop was produced under the CBZ bank Agro-Yield programme while 15 percent was planted using private funds.
“Of the total planted, the CBZ Agro-Yield programme contributed 12 642 hectares which is about 85 percent of the total area planted. The remaining 15 percent is non Command wheat. Here in
Makonde district 4 261 hectares were contracted for Command Agriculture but 3 489 hectares is the actual land planted under the facility, and 721 hectares have been planted using private funds.”
Mliswa-Chikoka said the province was given the biggest target among other provinces of 36 000 hectares but the farmers failed to meet it due to a number of challenges.
She said farmers however produced high grade wheat.
“The province did not meet the target of 36 000 hectares because the summer crop in some districts was harvested a bit late for the winter wheat to be established. Some farmers who had shown interest in winter wheat had their transformers and irrigation equipment vandalized and stolen, particularly in Hurungwe and Sanyati districts. But the wheat I have seen so far shows a huge improvement in terms of quality,” she said.