Home » Business » Late Rains Delay Wheat Preps

FARMERS are yet to harvest their late summer crops delaying preparations for winter wheat production.

Delayed rains saw farmers planting their summer crops late.

Wheat is planted from May 1 to May 25 with some farmers stretching the planting window to June 1.

Farmers told The Herald yesterday that they were running behind time.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said the bulk of the summer crops were still to be harvested and this will affect the winter wheat season.

“Most farmers have not started harvesting their summer crops.

“Some few farmers have started harvesting the early planted soyabeans.

“The season was late and most farmers planted late. This is negatively impacting on winter cropping,” he said .

Mr Chabikwa said discussions were underway between farmers and millers on modalities of funding for wheat production.

He said the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe had not informed farmers on the hectarage they were prepared to fund and this was also affecting preparations.

“We want to know how much wheat the millers are prepared to support and also agree on the pre-planting price before producing the crop,” he said.

Mr Chabikwa said farmers should be careful and make informed decisions as farming was a business.

Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union president Mr Abdul Nyathi said most farmers were not interested in growing wheat because of lack of markets.

“The Grain Marketing Board has no capacity to buy the wheat and pay. Farmers do not have funding and markets and this makes it difficult to produce wheat,” he said.

Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers’ Association Trust president Mrs Depinah Nkomo said it was sad that farmers were failing to produce wheat because of lack of funding.

“We do not want to consume imported wheat when we have the farms. Government should invest in irrigation so that we can produce enough wheat. We should not rely on imports,” she said.

The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe said it was targeting to contract farmers to produce 75 000 tonnes of wheat during the 2015 winter cropping season.

GMAZ president Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said the association was willing to contract farmers this season as Government had introduced a Statutory Instrument that guides production of cereals and grains.

“Now there is a Statutory Instrument that guides contract farming for grains and cereals and the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement has also allowed farmers to enter into partnerships.

He said the association was going to work with ZESA Holdings to ensure there were minimum power cuts in areas producing wheat.

Wheat production has been on the decline over the years with Zimbabwe becoming a net importer.

The fall in wheat production has been attributed to lack of funding, lack of inputs and power cuts by Zesa. Last year farmers produced 54 000 tonnes of wheat against national requirements of 350 000 to 450 000 tonnes a year.

Source : The Herald