Arda Jotsholo the best wheat producer, says official
ARDA Jotsholo Estate in Lupane, Matabeleland North Province, is the country’s best wheat producer having surpassed traditional producers of the crop in terms of standards, an official has said.
Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) board chairman, Mr Basil Nyabadza, said about 10 to 12 tonnes of wheat per hectare were expected to be produced by Arda Jotsholo with other districts set to produce an average of seven tonnes.
“We expect the finest wheat production to come from Arda Jotsholo where we planted 150 hectares of wheat. The crop there is better than the crop that is produced in Region 1 areas which have always been ranked best in crop production,” said Mr Nyabadza.
Zimbabwe has five farming regions in which Matabeleland occupies the fifth position given the low rainfall totals it receives annually. As such the region has not been performing well in crop farming save for ranching.
“The estate was previously producing cotton but we recently introduced wheat and its doing very well considering that it is within Region 5. The estate was being underutilised all this while as we have just realised its potential,” said Nyabadza.
He said plans were underway to increase the hectarage at the estate to make it the largest producer of wheat in the country.
Mr Nyabadza said by year end the estate would have increased to 300 hectares.
He said the cotton crop, which was previously produced at the Jotsholo Estate, was of poor quality and following their partnership with Trek, the estate received the best machinery for producing wheat.
“Matabeleland Region had been doing well so far in crop farming. We are working towards ensuring that all our estates have the necessary resources and water is managed properly to ensure that they produce to the fullest,” he said.
Mr Nyabadza said the Jotsholo Estate had a unique water system as water tanks had been installed underground to feed water to the centre pivots.
He said other water systems that had been previously used were inappropriate in relation to the soil type.
Mr Nyabadza said the agriculture authority was also making efforts to open a milling station at their Arda Antelope Estate in Kezi to ensure that crops that were produced in Matabeleland South Province were processed within the province.
He said the milling plant was expected to have the capacity to process 30 000 to 40 000 tonnes of crops annually.
Mr Nyabadza said Arda Ingwizi Estate had 700 hectares of wheat while Arda Antelope Estate had 500 hectares of wheat and each estate was expected to produce seven to eight tonnes.
Arda has 21 estates across the country with 19 of them fully operational.
The Government is targeting to produce more than 11 000 tonnes of wheat from Arda estates this year and increase production to 30 000 tonnes next year as efforts to boost food production intensify.
Last year Arda estates delivered 6 000 tonnes of wheat.
The massive production of maize and wheat started last year after Arda partnered with Trek Petroleum. — @DubeMatutu