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Agriculture Nehanda Guardian Provincial Newspapers

Province completes wheat harvesting

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ABOUT 98 percent of Mashonaland Central’s more than 16 000 hectares of winter
wheat grown this year had been harvested by Monday with the remaining two
percent expected to be done by Friday last week, a senior Ministry of Agriculture
officer told Nehanda Guardian.

Mashonaland Central had 16 067ha of winter wheat this season, and according to
Misheck Chitokomere, the provincial Agritex head, 15 784 ha (98 percent) was
harvested over the weekend as farmers raced against time to catch up with planting
dates for crops for the 2023/4 season.

The ministry has since given farmers the greenlight to start planting cereals for the
2023/4 season and is availing free maize and smart grain seeds to farmers as the
Government looks forward to improve the national food security attributing
the bumper and improved harvest to the timeous planting.

“Harvesting was disturbed a bit by the erratic rains experienced in the past 60 days
as farmers had to wait for their crops to dry.

“We are, however, pleased with the rate at which they then capitalised on the past
sunny days to harvest. We are encouraging those who have already harvested to
prepare their land for the approaching 2023/4 season,” he said.

Winter wheat farmers were supported by the Government through the National
Enhance Agriculture Productivity Scheme (NEAPS), formerly known as Command
Agriculture programme, as well as the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme while others
self-supported their production.

The Government is continuing with its assistance in the coming season through the
provision of seed.

Besides supporting wheat production, the Government is also supporting the
growing of grains across the province, including traditional grains, under the
Pfumvudza/Intwasa scheme with a bias towards farmers in the Dande Valley which
covers the lower parts of Mt Darwin and Muzarabani, Rushinga and Mbire favourable
for growing of these drought-tolerant crops.

In doing all this, the Government is looking forward to a food secure nation next year.
The Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme has seen the number of people in need of food
aid through the year shrinking ever since its nation-wide rollout during the past five
years.

The number of beneficiaries and area to be planted are increasing every year
resulting in increased programme beneficiaries and yields.

Farmers under the programme are guaranteed to get at least three (3) tonnes per
hectare. Last year, the target was at 2,5 tonnes per hectare.

Chitokomere said the expected increment is due to the fact that inputs have been
availed well on time this season.

The provincial targeted Pfumvudza/Intwasa maize hectarage has been set at
65584ha, to be covered by at least 441 970 beneficiaries (households).

These households are being given for free farming inputs they want in the sector,
from seed to chemicals.

In an interview last month (October) when the inputs distribution began, Loice
Manyara, a farmer in Shamva’s Chakonda communal lands said the Pfumvudza
programme helped her to a great extent.

“Together with my three children, we used to depend on piece jobs and charity to get
food during previous years. However, since l embraced the programme two years
ago, l can at least feed them without begging. I am now guaranteed of a rest from
doing piece jobs ever since l joined the scheme, although the yield does not take me
through until the next harvest,” she explained.

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