Zimbabwe aims for wheat self sufficiency in 2022 season

HARARE – Zimbabwe is targeting self-sufficiency in wheat production with 75,000 hectares to be planted this winter, the agriculture ministry has said.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted has disrupted exports as the two countries supply a third of the world’s wheat.

Lands and agriculture secretary John Basera says a partnership with the private sector is poised to boost production this season.

“Of the 75,000 hectares envisioned to be put under wheat this coming season, at least 23,000 hectares are being funded by private players under the auspices of the Food Crop Contractors Association. The rest is being supported through other support instruments, inclusive of the National Enhanced Agriculture Productivity Scheme and the presidential Inputs Scheme,” Bhasera told an irrigation stakeholders meeting.

He said the targeted hectarage is expected to give the country at least 380,000 metric tonnes of wheat, up from 330,000 tonnes last year.

Zimbabwe grows wheat during the southern hemisphere’s winter season which runs from May through July before the crop is harvested in October.

He said the ongoing global wheat demand sparked by the Russia/Ukraine conflict has reminded the authorities of the need to redouble efforts in production.

“We need to attain flour and wheat self-sufficiency at any cost this winter season especially in light of the geopolitical developments and realities in Eastern Europe. We need to look inward and to be a flour production hub for Africa for starters. Every inch of space should be put under wheat,” he said.

Basera said ZINWA, the government’s water authority, advised that there is enough water for irrigating the winter wheat crop.

“I’m further advised that this year, our dams managed to harness water that is capable of irrigating a total of 242,249 hectares of land up from 187,222 hectares last year pointing to a highly exciting season ahead,” he said.

According to the agriculture ministry, Zimbabwe has been witnessing a steady growth in wheat output over the past three seasons with 220,000 tonnes produced in 2020 and 330,000 tonnes in 2021 rising to 380,000 tonnes this year if the government’s projections are correct.

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