Arda winter wheat harvest exceeds target

21 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
Arda winter wheat harvest exceeds target

The Sunday News

Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) has to date harvested more than 14 000 tonnes of wheat as they are poised for a bumper harvest, exceeding the 6 000 tonnes which was excepted.

In an interview, Arda chief executive officer Mr Tinotenda Mhiko said a total of 14 263 tonnes have been harvested to date.

“We have harvested 4 368 tonnes from our pilot irrigation schemes and harvesting is still ongoing. We have also harvested 10 255 tonnes from five Arda estates and harvesting is still in progress. Total harvested to date is now on 14 263 tonnes across Arda pilot rural irrigation schemes and five Arda estates,” said Mr Mhiko.

Mr Mhiko said the ongoing harvest had also surpassed the approximately 7 800 tonnes harvested last year.

“Most of the beneficiaries under management of an Arda resident scheme business manager were excitedly expecting a bumper harvest of wheat and it is well on course with harvesting still in progress. Currently we are running a pilot of 42 irrigation schemes but we managed to establish 1 668ha of wheat from 20 schemes.”

Mr Mhiko said the summer crop preparations were also in progress as they were working on establishing Arda as a vehicle for national food, feed, fibre and biofuels security.

He said most schemes were now up and  running courtesy of the rural development initiatives from Arda, with the aim of creating smallholder farmer capacitation, employment and food self-sufficiency in pursuit of a middle income economy by 2030.

Mr Mhiko said they were given a mandate to manage the 450 irrigation schemes in the country and make them viable. So far, they have started with a pilot of 42 irrigation schemes where they have deployed scheme business managers.

He said they have also established close to 1 500 hectares from the pilot schemes and from Arda estates  established 2 040 hectares.

Meanwhile, in an update on the 2021/2022 summer production season, which was adopted by Cabinet, presented by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka, he said regarding the ongoing marketing of grain, 1 265 688 tonnes of grain have so far been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

That comprised 1 092 469 tonnes of maize, representing a 535 percent increase compared to last year; 981 679  tonnes of soya beans, translating to a 911 percent increase; 176 263 tonnes of wheat, representing an eight percent increase and wheat is still being delivered; and 98 641 tonnes of traditional grains showing a 657 percent increase.

The minister is on record as saying the agriculture sector has already hit the initial 2025 target of US$8,2 billion a year as the industry grew by 36,2 percent to US$8,19 billion in 2021, but will continue growing by another 10 percent next year.

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