Zimbabwe on course to record bumper wheat harvest

HARARE, ZIMBABWE - AUGUST 01: Wheat is sprayed with fertilizer at Ivordale Farm on August 1, 2018 outside Harare, Zimbabwe. Commercial farmer Andrew Pascoe runs the 330-hectare farm east of Harare. His father started the business in the 1950’s. The farm grows wheat mostly, maize and Soya Beans, with a dairy herd of 170 cows, a further 280 for beef, plus a piggery with 1200 animals. Before the land reform ‘initiative’, Mr Pascoe owned 1725 Hectares but was left with only 224, only 60 of which that was arable. He currently runs the 60 hectares of his own land, with the rest falling under a ‘joint venture’ program.. In 2000 the then President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, ran a land reform program that aimed to redistribute the farm land mostly owned by white Zimbabweans, to black subsistence farmers. The policy was seen as a disaster, with around 4000 white farmers forcibly removed from their farms, often violently. The policy crippled the agricultural sector and subsequently contributed to the collapse of the economy as those that took over the land lacked the knowledge to run the businesses. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Zimbabwe’s wheat farmers are on course to deliver 250,000 tons of wheat this season, with 190,000 tons already being delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) so far.

FILE PHOTO: Wheat is sprayed with fertilizer at a farm outside Harare, Zimbabwe. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Anxious Masuka said this year’s winter wheat farming segment has performed exceptionally well compared to previous seasons, the state-run Chronicle reported on Monday.

“As you know that the highest ever produced wheat since the Land Reform program was about 164,000 tons and last year we achieved 90,000 tons. This year we are on course to achieve more tons because 190,000 tons have been delivered to GMB to date,” he said.

Masuka said the government was impressed by the progress the country has made so far towards achieving a self-sufficient status.

“So, the country is slowly regaining its production status and this is a clear indication that the Land Reform program is beginning to bear fruits. It was and is a worthwhile program that benefits the people and the country,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s Land Reform program, which began at the turn of the millennium, aimed at correcting colonial injustice by redistributing productive land from white-owned farms to more than 150,000 black farmers.

Wheat deliveries plummeted following the land reform exercise, but production has been on the increase due to government support for farmers.

Zimbabwe needs at least 400,000 tons of wheat annually to meet demand, and low wheat output has over the years forced the country to rely on imports.

The 250,000 tons expected to be delivered to GMB are enough to cover nine months’ supply and save the country at least 100 million U.S. dollars through import substitution.

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