Record wheat harvest saves country US$300 million

Combine harvesters from Belarus harvesting wheat in Zimbabwe
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Zimbabwe has saved up to US$300 million in import costs following a record wheat harvest last year of over 375 000 tonnes, and is working hard to ensure a lot more wheat is delivered this year, President Mnangagwa has said.

He was speaking during the roundtable meeting on Zimbabwe’s arrears clearance and debt resolution process here on Wednesday evening, on the sidelines of the African Development Bank annual meetings which will end today.

Last year’s wheat output was the highest since 1966.

African Development Bank Group

Zimbabwe requires about 360 000 tonnes of wheat per year to ensure uninterrupted supply of bread and other confectioneries.

ZESA has already assured farmers of guaranteed electricity for irrigation this wheat cropping season.

On its part, the Government continues to construct dams across the country to promote irrigation culture so that going forward, surplus produce could be exported to generate foreign currency.

Said President Mnangagwa: “I am pleased to highlight that Zimbabwe is now food secure.

We are self-sufficient in wheat production, since 2022, saving up to US$300 million dollars annually, in import costs.

“A maize bumper harvest, attributed to favourable rainfall, increased irrigation capacity and agronomy support all supported by Government programmes, is now the norm.

“Pfumvudza/Intwasa Climate Proofed agriculture, a model focusing on the efficient use of inputs, labour and water resources among small-scale and communal farmers has had tremendous results to household food security, nutrition and incomes.”

The President said increased grain inflows from communal, small-scale and large commercial farmers has resulted in the growth of Zimbabwe’s Strategic National Grain Reserves.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said Zimbabwe expects higher yields of maize and wheat this year.

He invited countries that want to learn how to grow wheat to approach Zimbabwe.

“We have mustered how to grow wheat,” he said.

This year, the winter wheat production target is 85 000 hectares, compared to 80 388 hectares planted last year.

President Mnangagwa said the construction of dams was underway across the country, including Lake Gwayi Shangani, which was first conceptualised in 1912, to boost agriculture in an era of climate change which has shifted rainfall seasons.

Prof Mthuli Ncube

Nearly 40 metres of the total 72 metres have been covered on Lake Gwayi Shangani, and on completion, the large water body will end Bulawayo’s water challenges, revitalise the second capital’s manufacturing potential and create an agriculture greenbelt in surrounding provinces.

President Mnangagwa said irrigation infrastructure development continues to be accelerated with focus on water conveyancing, to climate-proof the agriculture sector, ensure food security as well as guarantee the water and sanitation needs of communities.