Rains threaten wheat harvest

By Marsha Sengwe & David Adin.


THE Government’s support to wheat farmers, especially in Mashonaland Central Province, risks
being squandered because many farmers are yet to complete harvesting their crop.
According to the Department of Agritex, this is because many planted their wheat later than the
prescribed date resulting in late harvesting.
“We also have an inadequacy of combine harvesters in Bindura, hence many are yet to harvest their
wheat, but we are afraid that it will be affected by the ongoing rains,” lamented Moffat Chireka, a
senior agronomist in the Department of Agritex in Mashonaland Central Province.
He appealed to established farmers with harvesters to assist the farmers still struggling to conclude
their harvesting and save the nation.
Chireka said almost half of the hectarage that was under wheat in the district was still to be
“The rains falling in the district have put up to plus or minus half of the wheat production at risk of
quality downgrades, since the prolonged moisture and harvesting could damage yields,” he said.
Most farmers failed to beat the harvesting deadline of October/November due to a shortage of
combine harvesters and labour.
Witness Nezandonyi, another Bindura District agronomist under the Ministry of Lands and
Agriculture, urged farmers in future to pool their finances together as clusters to buy the machinery.
“Yes, the harvesters are expensive and can be very dear to an individual to buy it alone, There is
need for farmers within their geographical locations to pool their finances together and buy the
machinery as a team so that we avoid losses,” he said.
He suggested that farmers stagger their planting dates starting from the end of April to end of May
so that they give room for the combine harvesters to complete harvesting with less pressure.
Bindura District had in total around 5 000 hectares under the cereal crop.
Instead of banking on foreign supplies, Zimbabwe has been making efforts to ensure that it grows its
own wheat.
To this end, the Government has been supporting wheat farmers through different schemes
including the Command Agriculture Scheme that supported the just ended winter wheat
Self-wheat sufficiency in wheat requirements is good for the country as it reduces the country’s
foreign import bill because it will not be buying all from outside the country.

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