Wheat board sets 100 000t target
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