Zimbabwe ponders wheat, maize exports

Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka.

BASKING on the glory of increased agricultural production under the Second Republic, Zimbabwe has not only attained food self-sufficiency but is now considering exporting excess maize and wheat to other countries within the African region.

In line with the National Development Strategy (NDS1), the country has already hit the US$8,2 billion agriculture sector economy target ahead of the 2025 deadline, according to official reports.

In a departure from the past when Zimbabwe had resorted to importing grain, the improved output has ensured that all citizens at all times have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food.

Grain Marketing Board

This has been achieved through the adoption of the climate-proofed Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme, supported by the Presidential Input Scheme, the National Enhanced Crop Productivity Scheme and  contract farming and irrigation development aided by massive dam construction projects, the livestock recovery and growth plan and farm mechanization, among others.

As a result in 2021 Zimbabwe registered a bumper harvest of over three million tonnes of grain and for the first time in 56 years, last year the country harvested 375 000 tonnes of wheat against a national annual requirement of 360 000 tonnes.

This created surplus of 15 000 tonnes and as such the country stopped importing wheat thereby saving a lot of foreign currency.

Pfumvudza/Intwasa

This year the country has increased hectarage under wheat to 86 000ha from 80 388ha last year and expects to harvest about 420 000 tonnes.

Last season, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia were the only two African countries to achieve wheat self-sufficiency.

This week, Cabinet was briefed about discussions that are already underway with some neighbouring countries on the possibility of facilitating wheat exports while 10 000 tonnes of maize will be sold to Rwanda.

In a post-Cabinet media briefing on Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet received an update on summer crops marketing and winter wheat production, which was presented by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka.

She said regarding wheat, the country’s stocks stand at 140 029 tonnes, which are sufficient to provide eight months’ cover, and the monthly allocation stands at 21 000 tonnes.

“Considering that the country is wheat self-sufficient, discussions are underway with neighbouring countries on possible wheat exports,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

She indicated that the record increase in wheat hectarage this year, with 69,8 percent of the country’s wheat being produced by A1 farmers, reflects another key milestone in the agricultural sector.

Minister Monica Mutsvangwa

“The area planted is 14,5 percent above the initial target of 85 000 hectares and 96 percent of the revised target of 90 000 hectares,” said the Minister Mutsvangwa.

The bulk of the planted wheat or 69,8 percent is by resettled farmers (A1 and A2), while the communal farmers contributed 6,95 percent. The bulk of the planted wheat is now at vegetative stage and is in good condition.

Chronicle

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