Zimbabwe will be exporting wheat in 2024 after projected harvests for the current crop is expected to surpass national requirement by about 60,000 tonnes.
According to a report by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, the country expects to yield 420,000 tonnes from the winter crop.
“The country planted 90,000 hectares of wheat in the current winter cropping season in which we expect 420,000 tonnes of wheat which is about 60,000 more than the national requirement.
“Because of the targeted harvest, the country will be self-sufficient for a second year running and we will be able to export wheat to our sister countries in Africa,” the report reads.
Agronomist, Anderson Magura, believes the projections are true and this is a result of methods deployed by the Government as a way of empowering farmers.
“The projections are not far off from what we have also gathered, and this is the testament of the agriculture policy that has been driven by the Second Republic as a way to attain food self-sufficiency,” he said.
Paul Zakariya, the executive director of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU), whilst talking on ZTN’s The Mint Programme, said the agriculture sector has benefited from good rains and good planning procedures.
“When you look at those results, there are things you need to really appreciate, compared to the previous seasons, there has been consistent planning, commitment, consultation and also commitment of resources.
“Resources have been put in place and targeting of farming areas has been increased as well as extension (services) have been beefed up as they have been retrained and equipped. Our season was a good season with farmers having inputs way before time except those self-financing farmers,” he said.
Analyst, Namatai Maeresera, said the need to sustain self-sufficiency is important if we are to look at global events in the past 12 to 18 months.
“It has been stressed enough about the importance of being self-sufficient as we are coming on the back of serious geopolitical issues and conflicts that have caused food prices to increase. If we did not put any plan in place, we would be feeling the pinch in reduced food aid across the world so it is good to produce for ourselves,” Maeresera said.
ZCFU is participating as an organisation in the steering committee that is looking to enhance irrigation in the country.
According to Zakariya, all the irrigation schemes that had stopped working for various reasons are being refurbished but in addition new irrigation schemes are coming up.
“A lot of investment is going into own farm irrigation development and many commercial farmers are adopting that as a way to climate proof their production and making sure they can produce even outside the rain season,” he said.
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) chief executive officer, Sam Miller, said they have seen a huge increase in terms of irrigation going up to about 220 000 hectares that are now operational, and put to good use.
“This is one of the reasons why we see an increase in wheat production as it is an irrigated crop. So, there has been a shift in the right direction in terms of increasing the capacity to irrigate as climate proofing,” he said.
The CFU president also stressed the need for the country to continue investing in climate proof agriculture for sustainable food production.
“We need to be very serious about what is happening around us environmentally, and climate change is a real scourge and if you look at the projections, by 2050 if we do not do anything there is going to be a crisis particularly in the southern African region,” Mr. Miller added.
The country needs to take climate proofing seriously as projections say by 2050 the region will see much reduced rainfall leaving it being a net exporter of food.