Zim meets wheat planting target

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Harare (New Ziana) – Farmers have met the winter wheat planting target of 75 000 hectares, setting Zimbabwe firmly on course to achieving wheat self-sufficiency, Cabinet revealed on Tuesday.

This year’s winter wheat programme was 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.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a post Cabinet briefing that adequate support was being rendered to wheat producers to ensure good yields.

“Regarding the 2022 Winter Wheat Production, the nation is informed that the target was to plant 75 000 hectares and produce 383 000 metric tonnes, which will be sufficient to meet the country’s needs. Despite challenges with the late commencement of the winter season due to a delayed summer rainfall season, the area planted to date is 100 percent of the target,” she said.

“There are enough fertilizers and chemicals to support winter wheat production. Some 100 megawatts of electricity have been ring-fenced for farmers and (they) are exempt from load shedding, while Petro Trade availed 750 000 litres of fuel to be distributed through the Agricultural Marketing Authority. Adequate measures have also been put in place to control quelea birds.”

Last year, the 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.

Meanwhile, Mutsvangwa said the grain marketing season which commenced on 1st April 2022 was progressing well.

“The grain intake as at 22 June, 2022 was 20 626 metric tonnes. The value of the grain delivered so far is ZW$ 1.8 billion and US$2.12 million with ZW$748 million and US$2 million having already been paid to the farmers,” she said.

“It is anticipated that deliveries will peak around July to September, before declining in November. The grain millers have concluded import contracts of 400 000 MT from Malawi and Zambia. It has been indicated that Social Welfare will require 30 000 MT every month.”
New Ziana

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