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Middle Sabi Ramps Up Winter Wheat Production


Sharon Chigeza

MUTARE-The Middle Sabi area in Manicaland Province is aiming for a significant comeback in winter wheat production this year after 1 059 hectares of land were dedicated to winter wheat cultivation in the province.

After a decade of decline, farmers are working hard to reclaim their position as a key contributor to Zimbabwe’s wheat harvest.

Middle Sabi, a large irrigated area with exceptionally fertile soils, is located south-west of Chipinge district and is home to both A1 and A2 farmers.

Last year, Middle Sabi had a paltry 478 hectares set aside for winter wheat out of the provincial target of 9 500 hectares.

Wheat farmers with access to irrigation have been urged to prepare for the upcoming winter wheat season to ensure that they meet set targets for this year.

Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Develoment, Professor Obert Jiri said proactive planning and efficient utilisation of resources is important to maximise productivity in the Middle Sabi.

“We are therefore encouraging all farmers with access to irrigation to put their best foot forward to achieve their target. Here in Middle Sabi we know they can do a massive 6 000 hectares. Middle Sabi is the place where the best quality wheat is produced here in Zimbabwe. We need that back and we know that the farmers here are determined,” he said.

He emphasised that all necessary measures had been taken to ensure adequate water and electricity supply is availed.

A total of 120 000 hectares have been targeted for winter wheat this year with the harvest expected to reach 600 000 tonnes well above the 460 000 tonnes produced from 91 000 hectares last year.

Manicaland provincial director, Agriculture Advisory and Rural Development Services (AARDS), Philippa Rwambiwa said the province was racing against time to meet the deadline for optimum planting with 12 percent of the required hectarage already planted.

“Our provincial target this year is 13000ha.We have financiers for the programme namely CBZ Agroyield, Arda PIP, Arda Jv and PIP. These programmes have registered farmers and are availing inputs to farmers. Twelve percent of the target has been planted so far with planting increasing as we race towards the optimum time of planting wheat,” said Rwambiwa.

The setting aside of over 1 059 hectares of land in Middle Sabi for winter wheat cultivation represents a substantial increase from the 9 500 hectares planted across the entire Manicaland Province last year.
This renewed focus on wheat production is attributed to several factors including improved infrastructure.

Rehabilitation of irrigation canals and access to reliable water sources have empowered farmers to cultivate water-intensive crops like wheat.

The resurgence of winter wheat production in Middle Sabi signifies a positive step towards a more food-secure and economically vibrant future for Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector. By overcoming challenges and fostering collaboration, stakeholders can ensure a bountiful harvest this year and pave the way for sustainable wheat production in the region for years to come.

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