• The government plans to increase the hectarage of winter wheat production by 5% for 2023
  • Zimbabwe has been one of the few African countries to attain self-sufficiency in wheat production
  • The projected wheat yield is 408,000 tonnes under the increased hectarage

Harare-The Zimbabwean government recently announced its plans to increase the hectarage of winter wheat production by 5% for 2023, compared to last year's 80,388 hectares. This comes as good news for the country, as Zimbabwe has been one of the few African countries able to attain self-sufficiency in wheat production.

Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa made the announcement during a post-Cabinet briefing on Tuesday. According to her statement, the target hectarage for the 2023 winter wheat production is set at 85,000 hectares, with 65% expected to be supported through government-guaranteed schemes, and 35% by the private sector.

The government-guaranteed schemes include the CBZ Agro-Yield Programme, the AFC Land Bank, and the Presidential Input Scheme. On the other hand, the Food Crop Contractors Association will provide the private sector funding, to be complemented by some self-financing farmers.

The projected production from the area that will be planted under wheat is 408,000 tonnes, based on the actual yield volume of 4.8 tonnes per hectare which was achieved in 2022. The government also plans to support the production of 7,700 hectares of barley, which is expected to yield 50,050 tonnes.

The wheat planting period covers the months of April and May. The government assured Zimbabweans that there is enough seed and basal fertiliser for the 2023 winter cereal production season. For the top-dressing component that is in short supply, the government has put in place enabling legislation to facilitate the importation of duty-free top-dressing fertilisers by local companies, thereby ensuring adequate supplies.

It is also important to note that electricity and water supply will not be a problem for the upcoming planting season. The government has ring-fenced power supplies for the benefit of wheat production, and with the national dam levels at 93.5%, water availability is already guaranteed. An Agriculture-Energy Task Force will ensure the availability of these critical enablers ahead of the winter cropping season.

The government has encouraged wheat farmers to plant early and use high-yield varieties to maximise productivity. The announcement of the government's plans is great news for Zimbabwe's economy and will help boost local production of basic commodities. With this new plan, Zimbabwe is likely to attain self-sufficiency in wheat production once again.

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