ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe is targeting over 420 000 tonnes of cereal this season up from last season’s 380 000 tonnes that led to the country achieving self-sufficiency.

Mr Graeme Murdoch, the chairperson of the Food Crop Contractors Association (FCCA) revealed this while updating the 2023 winter wheat harvesting status in the country.

According to him, 60 percent of the cereal has so far been harvested with some farmers already delivering their produce to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and the Zimbabwe Mercantile Exchange (ZMX) trade platform.

Mr Murdoch revealed that different contractors had started buying wheat adding that they had bought a total of 35 000 tonnes of wheat as of November 4 with GMB also reportedly buying 50 000 tonnes as of last week.

The announcement comes after President Mnangagwa’s May declaration that Zimbabwe had reached self-sufficiency in wheat following a record harvest of over 375,000 tonnes.

The president highlighted that 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.

Concerning the current season, Mr Murdoch urged farmers to hasten their operations before the rains disrupt harvesting as well as to minimize potential damage and ensure food security for the nation.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Dr Shadreck Makombe also encouraged farmers to intensify their efforts to avoid potential losses due to the impending rainy weather.

Farmers should increase their pace so that they finish harvesting before the rains come because if the season sets in before harvesting is completed, the farmers will lose a lot of produce, he added.

Dr Makombe also highlighted that some farmers were facing challenges of combine harvester shortages to speed up the harvesting process adding that they should unite and work in clusters.

We advise farmers to expedite wheat harvesting to escape from the impending rains. They must get in touch with their cluster leadership to organize and schedule combine harvesters to increase the pace of harvesting and save the winter crop.”

Zimbabwe Farmers Union secretary general Mr Paul Zakariya concurred saying wheat farmers were under pressure to quicken their harvesting operations before the arrival of rains in order to mitigate potential losses and secure their harvest before the rains come.

“The Government’s move to avail combine harvesters was noble and made it easy for farmers to speedily harvest their crop especially if they do it in organized sequences,” Paul said.