By Sharon Chigeza
Manicaland expects its winter wheat hectarage to double up to 7000 hectares this year, as preparations for the 2020 winter wheat season reach an advanced stage.
In an interview with Post on Sunday, Agritex Manicaland provincial head, Philipa Rwambiwa said despite temporary disruptions in accessing inputs the province was optimistic of a good yield.
“The winter wheat season obviously could have been affected by the ban on movement but Agriculture was declared an essential service thus exempted by the Government.
“The availability of inputs could be a challenge for most farmers who wanted to produce in winter as either shops were closed or they could not restock. However, most of the farmers who joined Command Agriculture are now receiving their inputs,” she said.
Rwambiwa also said land preparations had taken place as early as February this year.
At its peak, Manicaland used to record in excess of 9000 hectares, with Middle Sabi region alone accounting for about 5000 hectares.
On a positive note Rwambiwa also said the availability of electricity for irrigation through and through was available for the previous summer cropping season and thus were optimistic of good yields for the winter cropping season as well.
She went on to note that amidst Covid 19 fears, farmers adapted to the situation and adopted online training using various platforms such as WhatsApp as well as demonstrations during the season launch.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union Manicaland provincial manager, Mr Daniel Mungazi said preparations were running smoothly as effective planting dates were upon them.
“Preparations are at an advanced stage since the effective planting dates are upon us as from early May.
“Inputs distribution is now being finalized to pave way for planting and farmers were seen finishing off land preparations and sprucing up irrigation facilities,” said Mungazi.
Pursuant to Government’s efforts to guarantee food security, a minimal 80000 hectare national target was set for the 2020 winter wheat season to significantly cut the country’s cereal import bill.