Wheat harvesting intensifies in Masvingo
HARVESTING of wheat has intensified here, with the province expecting to produce nearly 1 500 tonnes.
Farmers are racing against time to ensure they finish harvesting before the rainy season.
The hectarage put under wheat in the province dropped by 50 percent this year after farmers put only 500 hectares under the crop.
Provincial crops and livestock officer Mr Peter Chamisa yesterday said most of the wheat crop in the province was ready for harvesting.
“We have so far harvested 100ha of wheat mainly on commercial farms so that we beat early rains that might affect the quality of the crop,” he said.
Mr Chamisa said farmers were grappling with severe shortage of combine harvesters to expedite the harvesting process.
“Wheat is very sensitive and farmers can be affected in terms of recovering their costs if their crop is not harvested on time,” he said.
“There was a serious shortage of combine harvesters initially, but the situation has now improved with the coming in of private players, which has expedited harvesting at Mushandike and Lamonte irrigation schemes in the district.
“Once harvesting is finished at the two schemes we will then move on to other areas, but we expect to have finished harvesting in the next three weeks.”
Mr Chamisa conceded that this year’s wheat hectarage was lower compared to last season, attributing the scenario to de-motivation amongst farmers who incurred losses last season after failing to get combine harvesters on time.
Most wheat in Masvingo is grown at Mushandike and other smaller irrigation schemes, amid calls for the province to expand its wheat output to help stem surging inputs of the crop.