Harare (New Ziana) – The government plans to export 10 000 metric tonnes of grain to Rwanda, and is also looking at the possibility of exporting excess wheat to neighbouring countries, a Cabinet Minister said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a post Cabinet press briefing, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said the country had enough grain, including wheat, to be able to spare some for export.
This included 204 084 metric tonnes of maize, and 41 464 metric tonnes of traditional grains able to meet the country’s needs for 5.6 months.
On the other hand, Mutsvangwa said the country’s wheat stocks stood at 140 029 metric tonnes, sufficient for eight months at the current monthly consumption rate of 21 000 metric tonnes.
“Considering that the country is wheat self-sufficient, discussions are underway with neighbouring countries on possible wheat exports. Cabinet wishes to highlight that 69.8 percent of the country’s wheat is being produced by A1 farmers,” she said.
“The nation is informed that a record 86 466ha have been put under wheat compared to 80 882ha last year. The area planted is 14.5 percent above the initial target of 85 000ha, and 96 percent of the revised target of 90 000ha. The bulk of the planted wheat or 69.8 percent, is by resettled farmers (A1 and A2), while the communal farmers contributed 6.95 percent. The bulk of the planted wheat is now at vegetative stage and is in good condition. Quelea bird control activities are underway, including the aerial spraying of nesting points using drones. The required pesticides are also readily available.”
Under summer crop marketing, Mutsvangwa said Cabinet deliberated at length on the importance of paying farmers on time for the delivery of all crops, to ensure the record-high agricultural production figures and the agricultural transformative agenda are sustained.
The Grain Marketing Board had so far taken delivery of 49 694 metric tonnes, comprising 33 008 metric tonnes of maize, 9 095 metric tonnes of traditional grains, 4 780 metric tonnes of soya beans and 2 773 metric tonnes of sunflower in the current marketing season.
Mashonaland West has contributed the highest amount of maize, soya beans and sunflower, while Mashonaland Central was highest in traditional grains, while Midlands is becoming a maize producer of repute, surpassing Mashonaland East.
An additional 300 000 metric tonnes of maize will be mobilised to provide cover up to June next year at the current monthly draw down of 43 000 metric tonnes.
As for tobacco, Mutsvangwa said a record 286 872 954 kgs valued at US$868 864 119 million was produced and sold during the season, with the money accruing to farmers.
“The Tobacco Transformation Plan is aiming at tobacco becoming a 300 million kg crop, with a US$5billion tobacco industry by 2025.
Preparations for the 2023/24 season are already underway with seed sales equivalent to 91 380 hectares compared to 76 483 hectares the previous season, which is a 16 percent increase,” she said.
Seed cotton saw 63 181 516kg delivered to four contractors by 6 July compared to the same time last year when 15 512 710kg were delivered, meaning the seed cotton intake has surpassed the 2022 deliveries by 407 percent with prices ranging between US$0.34 and US$0.40 per kg.