Arda Jot­sholo the best wheat pro­ducer, says of­fi­cial

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Sukul­wenkosi Dube-Matutu

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

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