ZIMBABWE – President Mnangagwa has announced that Zimbabwe has reached self-sufficiency in wheat following last year’s record harvest of over 375 000 tonnes, The Herald reports.
According to him, the country has saved up to US$300 million in import costs and is working hard to ensure a lot more wheat is delivered this year.
He was speaking during the roundtable meeting on Zimbabwe’s arrears clearance and debt resolution process, on the sidelines of the African Development Bank annual meetings.
He revealed that last year’s wheat output was the highest since 1966. Zimbabwe requires about 360 000 tonnes of wheat per year to ensure an uninterrupted supply of bread and other confectionaries.
“I am pleased to highlight that Zimbabwe is now food secure. “We are self-sufficient in wheat production, since 2022, saving up to US$300 million annually, in import costs, Said President Mnangagwa.
The announcement comes after the recent move by the Zimbabwean authorities to the liberalization of grain trade, opening doors for increased private sector participation in a significant move towards enhancing food security.
Additionally, the government suspended grain imports following a report by the Crop, Livestock, and Fisheries ministry that highlighted that Zimbabwe’s estimated maize production stood at 2 298 281metric tonnes (MT), a 58% increase on the 1 453 031 MT produced in the 2021/2022 season.
President Mnangagwa further revealed that ZESA has already assured farmers of guaranteed electricity for irrigation this wheat cropping season. He assured that the Government will continue to construct dams across the country to promote irrigation culture so that going forward, surplus produce could be exported to generate foreign currency.
In addition, Mnangagwa said irrigation infrastructure development continues to be accelerated with a focus on water conveyancing, to climate-proof the agriculture sector, ensure food security as well as guarantee the water and sanitation needs of communities.
Concluding, the president invited countries that want to learn how to grow wheat to approach Zimbabwe. “We have mustered how to grow wheat,” he said, adding that this year, the winter wheat production target is 85 000 hectares, compared to 80 388 hectares planted last year.
In preparation for the bumper harvest, Zimbabwe and the Belarusian Government had signed a deal to construct US$112 million silos at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots targeting areas where there is high cereal production, particularly Kwekwe, Mvurwi, and Timber Mills.