Zimbabwe on course to achieve wheat self-sufficiency

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HARARE, ZIMBABWE - AUGUST 01: Wheat grows in fields 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)

With Zimbabwe’s agricultural outlook on the up in recent months, the sector received a further boost with authorities predicting the country will achieve wheat self-sufficiency for the first time in more than a decade.

FILE PHOTO: Wheat grows in fields at a farm outside Harare, Zimbabwe. /Getty Images

According to a report by the state-owned Herald newspaper, Zimbabwe’s government is expecting to harvest 300,000 tonnes of wheat this agricultural season in addition to the 70,000 tonnes already in stock.

Zimbabwe needs about 360,000 tonnes of wheat annually to meet its demand. The last time the southern African nation was self-sufficient in wheat was in 2005. The country’s largest harvest was in 1990 when 325,000 tonnes were collected.

A bumper harvest last year during which farmers produced enough wheat to last nine months and a greater acreage of wheat farmed, in addition to the state’s Agricultural Recovery Plan (ARP) to improve food security and nutrition have been credited for this development.

More than 66,000 hectares of land were used to farm wheat, the Herald reported, representing the third-highest portion of land to farm wheat since 1980.

To ensure the preservation of the predicted gains, farmers unions have reportedly began coordinating with other stakeholders to smooth the harvesting process and make sure famers to do not suffer unnecessary losses.

Combined harvesters will be provided by both the government, through the Agricultural Finance Company Leasing Company, and the private sector.

Furthermore, the Zimbabwean government recently announced a review of the producer price of wheat flour during this year’s marketing season spelling more good fortunes for the country’s farmers.

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