Winter wheat target: Mash East province’s efforts appreciated

By Archford Chirimudombo


MARONDERA- Agricultural and Rural Development Advisory Services (ARDAS)
chief director Professor Obert Jiri recently hailed farmers in Mashonaland East for
their efforts in helping the province surpass this winter wheat season’s target.
This season, the target of 14 000 hectares was surpassed by more than 1 500
hectares as the province managed to plant 15 606 hectares.
Zimbabwe is expecting a bumper harvest which will lead to a successive surplus of
the cereal this season.
The expected 420 000 tonnes throughout the country will be way above last year’s
375 000 tonnes which was the highest ever recorded since Independence.
In line with the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, the
Agriculture Recovery Plan and the National Development Strategy-1 (NDS-1), the
Government has been targeting increases in wheat production to meet the
requirements of the nation.
This is taking place at a time the country is pursuing the Vision 2030 of becoming an
upper-middle income society seven years from now.
Professor Jiri applauded Mashonaland East province’s achievements in winter wheat
production, saying: “We appreciate the efforts that were made by farmers from this
province in meeting, and then surpassing the winter wheat target that had been set
for a second successive season.
“Following another spectacular winter wheat season output last season, the country
will still be winter wheat sufficient for the next six months and now that we expect to
exceed last season’s achievements, it means that we will remain self-sufficient in the
cereal for long periods to come.
“Nationally, we are expecting a total output of 420 000 metric tonnes as compared to
the 375 000 metric tonnes that we harvested last season. The means that we are
well shielded in terms of our yearly requirements,” he said.

Last season’s milestone since Independence was followed by plantings in 2004 (70
585 ha) and 2005 (67 261 ha) after the country adopted an import substitution
agricultural policy and strategically working self-sufficiency.
In that period, Mashonaland East contributed 12 579 hectares, having initially set a
target of 11 340 hectares while the province also managed to produce 56 825 metric
In an earlier interview after the province surpassed its target, ARDAS provincial
director Leonard Munamati said this had been achieved with adequate support from
the Government.
He said: “Adequate support for the farmers was received from the Government,
whose stringent efforts on agricultural transformation are moored on active private
and public sector participation.
“Inputs and funding was received through a host of programmes like the Presidential
inputs support scheme, the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) Agro-Yield and
Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) facilities while the private sector has been
making an immense contribution. ARDA managed to sponsor some farmers while
others self-sponsored their farming activities.
“Electricity supply has been consistent as the clusters that are well known for
producing the crop were ring-fenced. The dams have adequate water and farmers
have not been facing any problems when it comes to irrigating the crop. Everything
is pointing to a bumper harvest again this season.”

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