Clinton Moyo, Sunday News Reporter
A small part of the winter wheat under the Command Agriculture Programme has been spoilt by rains after some farmers failed to harvest it on time, an official has said.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union president Mr Abdul Credit Nyathi, said the winter wheat was spoilt due to the rains that some parts of the country have received.He said farmers were failing to harvest due to shortage of combine harvesters.
“There are some areas that were spoilt by rains because the wheat was still in the fields. You know wheat is a very sensitive grain and gets spoilt easily and you will see it even changing its colour.
The main problem that has led to this phenomenon is that in some parts of the country we are experiencing a shortage of combine harvesters so some of the grain was still on the fields. I am not really sure how many hectares are affected but it’s just those areas where the winter was still in the fields,” said Mr Nyathi.
However, Matabeleland North provincial Agritex Extension officer Mr Dumisani Nyoni said there were a few cases of spoils in his area.
“There are just one or two cases in Bubi District but overally there was not much damage,” he said.
Matabeleland South provincial Agritex Extension officer Ms Simangaliso Ngwabi said they were still assessing the number of hectares that might habe been affected.
“We are still assessing the damage because we had some parts that were still being harvested when the rains started, but from what we are gathering it seems the damage is little,” she said.
Other provincial Agritex Extension officers across the country echoed the same sentiments and confirmed that everything was under control.
“In general there isn’t much damage everything is under control,” said Mashonaland East Agritex Extension officer Mr Leonard Munamati.
This comes at a time when farmers have started delivering their winter wheat to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots across the country.
However, reports indicate that some of the depots were running out of storage space since the silos are full of maize which was harvested following the success of the Command Agriculture Programme.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister (Cropping) Davis Marapira had assured farmers that GMB depots had enough space to cater for the harvest.
However, there were also fears that the redirected harvest would be damaged by rains on their way to the depots but Mr Nyathi said they have not yet received any reports of redirected spoilt wheat so far.
“Fortunately enough, the grain which was redirected to other depots was not affected, I doubt that they were affected because we did not receive any reports of spoilt grains on their way to the depots,” he said.