Wheat har­vest­ing in­ten­si­fies in Masvingo

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Masvingo Bu­reau

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.

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