Firm ploughs millions into wheat production

NORTHERN Farming Private Limited has invested US$16 million towards production of wheat and is targeting to harvest 47 000 metric tonnes this year.

Northern Farming is a contract-farming company in Zimbabwe that provides inputs, working capital, agronomy and market linkage to selected large and small-scale farmers.

The company is one of Zimbabwe’s largest suppliers of locally produced maize, soya bean and wheat.

It is owned by Rift Valley, a shareholder in Border Timbers.

“Northern Farming has invested US$16 million annually in the production of wheat and expects to produce 47 000mt of wheat this year. We are also targeting to grow 10 000 hectares next year,” said the company in an update.

“The yield is expected to come from the 6 900 hectares, which was cropped from the 8 000 hectares grown in 2017 and yielded 52 000mt.”

The company said the average yield per hectare was above the national average while its wheat market share has grown by 15 percent this year compared to last year.

“Average yield per hectare for Northern Farming is 6,3t/ha, which is above the national average of 4,3t/ha.

“The company’s market share has grown to about 45 percent in 2018 from 30 percent in 2017 despite decline in hectorage in the comparative period,” said the company.

Nationally the hectarage under wheat fell from 43 846ha in 2017 to 34 736ha in 2018 at time when demand is soaring and the country is relying on imports.

Zimbabwe is expected to produce between 120 000 and 145 000 metric tonnes of wheat this year against national demand of 450 000mt.

Northern Farming however, said the resurgent inflation was eroding profitability and urged Government to review the price of wheat.

The company said payment of at least 30 percent of the market price into outgrower contractor foreign currency accounts to cover US$ related costs not currently prioritised would go a long way in boosting operations.

Last month the company also partnered with State-owned Agriculture and Rural Development Authority to invest $30 million in developing macadamia and avocado plantations in the country’s Eastern Highlands.

– Chronicle

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