Wheat board sets 100 000t tar­get

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Bianca Mlilo Busi­ness Re­porter

THE Zim­babwe Wheat Board (ZWB) has set a tar­get of pro­duc­ing 100 000 met­ric tonnes of wheat in the 2017 win­ter-wheat farm­ing sea­son.

Wheat pro­duc­tion has dwin­dled over the years forc­ing millers to bridge the gap through im­ports.

NBAZ pres­i­dent Mr Give­more Me­soemvura told Busi­ness Chron­i­cle that al­though the pre­lim­i­nary plan had been to com­mence op­er­a­tions this sum­mer sea­son, the un­avail­abil­ity of a com­mer­cially vi­able seed type meant com­mence­ment of farm­ing would be de­ferred to next year.

“We’re look­ing at do­ing 100 000 met­ric tonnes of wheat in the 2017 win­ter farm­ing sea­son and we will ini­tially have it on 25 000 hectares, look­ing to in­crease as time goes on,” said Mr Me­soemvura.

“This is a to­tally new hec­tarage, mean­ing the wheat that we will pro­duce is sep­a­rate from the an­nual 60 000 met­ric tonnes that the coun­try has been pro­duc­ing since 2007-8. We have talked to the farm­ers we will be work­ing with and we are al­ready mak­ing prepa­ra­tions to that ef­fect.”

The bak­ery in­dus­try is im­port­ing over 85 per­cent of wheat re­quire­ments an­nu­ally, con­tribut­ing to an ex­pand­ing trade deficit that has drained the coun­try of much-needed liq­uid­ity.

Mr Me­soemvura is on record as say­ing the bak­ery sec­tor needs 480 000 met­ric tonnes of wheat per sea­son com­pared to the cur­rent yield of about 60 000 met­ric tonnes.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Me­soemvura, one met­ric tonne of wheat costs $200; bring­ing the to­tal im­port bill of wheat to $80 mil­lion ev­ery sea­son.

Buy Zim­babwe Cam­paign last year said the im­port costs were too high and should be brought down by in­creas­ing wheat farm­ing and co-or­di­nat­ing its mar­ket­ing.

The coun­try’s peak wheat pro­duc­tion was recorded in the 1990s when yields as high as 325 000 met­ric tonnes were at­tained. — @Bian­caMlilo

Wheat field in this wire pic­ture

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