Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
MIDLANDS Province has surpassed its target of winter wheat by more than 1 000 hectares following the extension of the planting period by the Government to increase production of the strategic crop.
Having set a winter target of 6 450 hectares this season, the province has since gone above 7 600 hectares.
In an interview, Mrs Medlinah Magwenzi, the director for Agricultural and Rural Development Services from Department of Agricultural, Advisory and Rural Development Services (AARDS) said the Midlands will have a great input towards the national target of 80 000ha.
“I am happy to note that we have surpassed the winter wheat target by over 1 000 ha.
We have some other private sector players who contributed in the matrix.
We have CBZ Agro that has since surpassed its target.
“Another financier AFC and the Presidential Support Scheme have also surpassed their targets.
It’s a promising season and we hope to make significant contributions towards the national demand.
We had a target of 6 450 hectares but we are now at 7 625 hectares,” she said.
Mrs Magwenzi said last season, the province managed 5 448ha against 6 500ha.
“Yield expected was 6 tonnes per ha but on average, due to electricity challenges and late planting, the average went down and we harvested 27 797 tonnes instead of 32 688 tonnes,” she said.
Mrs Magwenzi said farmers were grateful that winter wheat inputs arrived on time.
“We had the winter wheat inputs arriving on time.
The private partners also provided inputs on time,” she said.
Mrs Magwenzi said the Government has also called on farmers to take advantage of training programmes being facilitated by Arda.
“We are experiencing serious problems at irrigation schemes.
Some people are vandalising electricity at irrigation schemes which is having a toll on farmers.
We understand that some irrigation schemes are also experiencing moisture stress.
We are going to the ground to see to it that we help farmers who are facing problems so that we win the fight.
We are also training farmers on seed management,” she said.
Mrs Magwenzi also urged farmers to embrace training on winter wheat management to avoid aborting the crop.
She said the crop is very crucial, especially at this time due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“We have to be self sufficient without fail.
The Midlands piece of cake will have a great input towards the national target,” she said.
The winter wheat planting period, which was supposed to end on June 30 was extended following a huge demand on the global market due to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.