Bindura (New Ziana) -Harvesting of winter wheat is at its peak in Mashonaland Central province where more than 11 000 hectares were put under the cereal crop this season.
In an interview, provincial agronomist Izah Jaidi said about 8 111 ha had so far been harvested out of the 11 224 ha that was planted.
“The total area that was planted was 11 224 ha under both command and self support and so far 8 111 ha has been harvested,” he said.
“Though the country is already receiving rains, there is not much danger to those who haven’t harvested yet, they are still safe and can be through by next week,” he added.
Jaidi however warned farmers whose grain was still in the fields not to be late in future as they risked their crop being destroyed by the rains.
“This is mainly due to farmers using the same field for two different crops in consecutive seasons. Most of these farmers had maize in the same fields they then grew wheat, meaning to say they grew their wheat a bit later hence it is maturing now,” he said.
“If that is the case, farmers should go for early maturity seeds so that they will not be disturbed,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jaidi called on farmers to take advantage of the early rains that were falling to prepare their fields for the 2020/21 season.
“Farmers can start land preparations for the coming season maximizing on the wet grounds and those using tractors can start whilst using less energy.”
“For those who are still sourcing inputs l encourage them to move a bit faster and wind up so that they may meet their target,” he said.
Zimbabwe is expecting to harvest about 220 000 metric tons of winter wheat this year, more than double last year’s output due to increased government support to farmers.
Some 44 399 hectares were put under the crop throughout the country, an 83.6 percent increase from the 24 186 ha planted in the 2019/20 season.
Last year winter wheat was grown on about 24 000 tons, which produced less than 100 000 tons, leaving the government and private millers to import the deficit from the national demand of 400 000 tons.
The government plans to exponentially boost wheat production in order to eliminate imports of the cereal and save on scarce foreign currency.