Govt unveils wheat shield plans

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Harare (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe currently holds 4 months wheat supply in stock, with regular imports and a robust winter wheat programme expected to cushion the country from global shortages, a Cabinet Minister has said.

This year’s winter wheat programme is designed to ensure that Zimbabwe attains self-sufficiency to insulate itself from the impact on global food supplies of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.

The ongoing conflict and disruption of food exports have significantly pushed global wheat prices up.

Russia and Ukraine account for nearly 30 percent of global wheat exports combined, and since war broke out months ago, wheat prices have hit record highs, with food and agricultural experts warning of increased global food insecurity.

Acting Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Jenfan Muswere said as at June 3, Zimbabwe held 101 182 metric tonnes of wheat.

“These stocks are expected to last for 4 months, at an allocation rate of 21 000 MT per month. Millers are expected to import 9 000 MT per month to meet the country’s monthly requirement of 30 000 MT per month,” he said.

“Regarding the 2022 winter wheat production, the target is to plant 75 000 ha and produce 383 000 MT, which would be a record crop for the country. Despite challenges with the late start of the winter season, planting to date is 62.8 percent of the target, being above last year by 70 percent. The bulk of the planted wheat is at hardening stage.”

By mid-May, over 10 000 hectares of land had been planted, a figure more than double the area planted during the same period last year.

Last year, total winter wheat hectarage was 66 000.

The current wheat supply challenges have seen local bread prices go up as Zimbabwean millers, who expect to import 155 000 tonnes of wheat this year through October, raised maize meal and flour prices as a direct consequence of the war.

The private millers traditionally source most of their wheat from Russia.

Cabinet has already approved a pre-planting wheat floor producer price of ZW$175 741.86 and ZW$193 316.046 per metric tonne of ordinary and premium grade wheat respectively.

Meanwhile, Muswere said the tobacco marketing season was progressing well.

“The nation is informed that a total of 122.7 million kilogrammes of tobacco valued at US$366.8 million have been sold to date, compared to 141 million kg worth US$382 million sold during the same period last year.

“The Auction and Contract floors average selling price has been firmer this year at US$2.99/kg compared to US$2.71/kg in 2021. The target for the 2022/2023 season is 275 million kg from 135 000 ha, with 96 percent of the tobacco expected to be produced under contract.”
New Ziana

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