Private players biggest contributors as Mash East exceeds winter wheat target

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By Mashonaland East Correspondent

PRIVATE players, mostly self-financed farmers, have been credited for playing a major role which saw Mashonaland East province surpassing its projected target for the 2022 winter wheat farming season.

The target for the winter wheat in the province this year was 11 340 hectares, but a government official projected this had exceeded to 12 579 hectares.

This is despite the lack of financing from traditional funders, CBZ and AFC, who recorded a low uptake as most farmers were not legible after failing to repay their loans.

The self-financed farmers were lauded by Leonard Munamati, the Agricultural Advisory and Rural Development Services (AARDS) Mashonaland East acting director for managing to surpass the target in the province after planting 7 002ha of the crop.

“The private sector and self-financed farmers were in the majority and they contributed a 7 002 hecterage. The CBZ Agro Yield and the AFC Land Bank programmes had a low uptake this season because most farmers had not paid up their loans from previous seasons,” he said.

Munamati added the two financial institutions contributed a total of 4 012ha while the Presidential Winter Wheat programme 1 565ha.

“Wheat is in good condition and should be harvested by the end of this month. We encourage farmers to construct fireguards since we are in the midst of the fire season. This will help in minimising losing the crop to wild fires.”

Power utility, ZESA, also received a rare appreciation from the government official, who praised the parastatal for prioritising regular electricity supplies for crop irrigation to planted areas.

“The challenges to farmers were very few as the national power utility prioritised areas where the crop was grown. Faults were attended to on time and water bodies had enough water.”

The main winter wheat growing areas in Mashonaland East province are Marondera and Goromonzi districts.

Agriculture Ministry secretary John Basera claims Zimbabwe is projected to harvest 380 000 tonnes of wheat.

The national annual wheat requirement is 360 000, giving the country a surplus of 20 000 tonnes, a feat which has not been achieved in years.