ZIMBABWEThe Agriculture and Rural Development Advisory Service (ARDAS) has reported that farmers across Zimbabwe have planted 98,000 hectares of wheat this winter season, 81 percent of the target and nearly 7,000 hectares more than last year’s planted area of 91,000 hectares.

This effort, driven by the Second Republic’s commitment to agriculture, is expected to yield over 600,000 tonnes of wheat from a targeted 120,000 hectares, surpassing last year’s record harvest of 465,000 tonnes.

According to ARDAS, farmers are racing against time to meet the target with the planting window extended to this Friday, a move aimed at meeting the country’s target and bolstering food security.

The total area contracted for wheat this season stands at 121,782 hectares, exceeding the target of 120,000 hectares. Notably, the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) has contracted 60,272 hectares, surpassing their 60,000-hectare target, with 47,165 hectares already planted.

Key districts have been identified as top priorities for completing planting by the deadline. These include Zvimba, Mazowe, and Kwekwe, each with 4,000 hectares remaining, and Hurungwe, Bindura, Chegutu, and Makonde, which together account for the remaining 17,500 hectares.

Teams from the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry have been deployed to these districts to assist farmers in meeting the deadline.

Professor Obert Jiri, Permanent Secretary for Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, emphasized the importance of wrapping up planting by June 14.

He praised the dedication of both extension workers and farmers, urging the implementation of good agronomic practices to ensure the season’s targets are met.

Prof. Jiri highlighted that there have been no significant issues with power outages and that the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) is supplying sufficient water.

Farmers are encouraged to seek support from agricultural extension workers for guidance on wheat growing and best practices.

The wheat crop is supported through various schemes, including private contractors, the Government’s National Enhanced Agricultural Productivity Scheme (NEAPS), the Presidential Wheat Support Scheme, and self-financed growers.

For the past two seasons, in Africa, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia were two countries that were wheat self-sufficient, with Zimbabwe producing a good surplus last season after achieving its first-ever self-sufficiency in 2022.

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