Home » Governance » Govt Releases U.S $5 Million for Wheat

GOVERNMENT has released $5 million to the Grain Marketing Board to pay wheat farmers for last year’s crop deliveries in a development expected to boost preparations for the current winter wheat farming season.

A further $2 million is set to be released over the next few weeks as Government intensifies efforts to ensure that farmers put 40 000 hectares under wheat in the current season.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister Davis Marapira on Wednesday said Government was working flat out to increase wheat output this year.

He said Government wanted to treble wheat hectarage from last year’s 14 600 to almost 40 000.

“We have set a target to put between 20 000 and 40 000 hectares under wheat in the current season and most wheat farmers have already received payment for the crop they delivered last year to GMB.

“Money for wheat farmers was released last week and we expect that balance of slightly over $4 million to be paid in the coming week or so,” he said.

“We are targeting most major irrigation schemes to be under wheat and while Government is not directly assisting wheat farmers with inputs this year, we feel they will be able to go it alone if they are paid for last year’s crop deliveries to GMB.”

Deputy Minister Marapira said power cuts were threatening wheat production.

He decried the high interest rates charged by financial institutions on farmers who want to borrow money to finance their operations.

“Wheat farmers are not only grappling with a shortage of electricity and punitive interest rates on loans but also the high cost of water for irrigation. If all these challenges could be addressed wheat production can even go up further,” he said.

Government was prioritising wheat production on major irrigation schemes that were rehabilitated as part of efforts to improve food security.

He singled out Mushandike Irrigation Scheme in Masvingo, which had almost collapsed three years ago, but managed to produce nearly 1 000 tonnes of wheat after undergoing rehabilitation on 100 hectares.

Source : The Herald