9 000 hectares under winter wheat in Midlands Mr Panashe Dete (in worksuit) and one of his workers attend to a winter wheat crop in Kwekwe recently

FARMERS in the Midlands province have put over 9 000ha under winter wheat, 3 000ha short of the 12 000ha target set for this season.

With the winter wheat planting season ending tomorrow, some farmers were busy planting wheat yesterday.

The Midlands province has set a target of 60 000 metric tonnes of winter wheat this year, contributing approximately 19 percent of the national wheat requirements of 320 000 metric tons.

Government is targeting to increase wheat production to meet the national requirement in line with the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, the Agriculture Recovery Plan and the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

Wheat self-sufficiency is crucial in pursuit of the vision of becoming an empowered and prosperous upper-middle income economy by 2030.

The cereal is mostly grown under irrigation during the winter season, which runs from May to July before the crop is harvested from October to December.

During the rainy season from October to March, farmers plant other crops, such as soya beans and maize. In Midlands, winter wheat is mainly grown in the Sherwood block and in farms around Kwekwe District.

There are also some irrigation schemes in Mberengwa, Lower Gweru and Shurugwi, which contribute to the provincial target.

Among the leading farmers is Mr Douglas Kwande of the fast-growing Douglas and Claris Kwande (DCK) Investments, which own DCK Farm in Kwekwe who have planted nearly 400ha under wheat. At Precabe Farm owned by the First Family, 500ha have been put under the crop.

In an interview, Midlands provincial agronomist, Mr Innocent Dzuke, said winter wheat crop planting was ongoing as farmers aim to beat the June 14 deadline.

“As of today, farmers had planted 9 063ha under winter wheat and our target is 12 000ha. Farmers are still planting. Remember the Government extended the winter wheat planting window to                                                                                    June 14, which is tomorrow,” he said.

Through implementing various programmes, the country is expected to produce 600 000 tonnes of wheat for the first time in history.

Agriculture experts have described this year’s wheat success story as a game changer towards the Government’s thrust to achieve wheat-based food security adopted in the face of the El Nino-induced drought.

Mr Ronnie Chigombe, sales agronomist at SeedCo said winter wheat planted early by some farmers was now at early vegetative stage, adding that some farmers were now applying top dressing.

“Top dressing in wheat is very essential for good leaf and general plant growth and ultimately the yield but also importantly for attaining good protein levels,” he said.

“As SeedCo we have two top notch executive genetics, which we believe can work wonders for the farmers. The SC Serena Benefits are high yielder, adapted across wheat producing areas and resistant to leaf rust.”

Youthful farmer, Mr Panashe Dete, of Wajere Farm in Kwekwe District said his crop was at the early vegetative stage. He has completed wheat hardening and has just applied first top dressing with irrigation to follow before applying herbicides to control weeds.

“We did 35ha of winter wheat and now we are doing plant population counts in this nicely managed SC Serena wheat crop. I believe having a solid relationship with my crops is a very important aspect in achieving my goals as a farmer,” he said.



You Might Also Like