The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday News Reporter
ZIMBABWE has extended its winter wheat planting deadline from 10 to 15 June, although the country has already doubled the number of hectares it had under plantation compared to the same period last year.
Speaking at a post Cabinet briefing yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the extension of the deadline was expected to pave way for the plantation of more wheat.
Zimbabwe initially targeted 85 000 hectares of wheat this winter from all farmers to ensure self-sufficiency.
“Government advises that as at 5 June 2021, a total of 47 519 hectares had been planted to wheat, more than double the area planted at the same time last year. The planting deadline has been extended to 15 June 2021 from 10 June and the seeding rate increased from 125 to 150 kilogrammes per hectare. It is estimated that with this extension, 70 000 to 75 000 hectares of wheat will be planted, translating to an estimated total production of 315 000 to 337 500 metric tonnes,” she said.
Meanwhile, Minister Mutsvangwa revealed that grain deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) were holding steady, while tobacco sales volumes were higher in comparison to last year.
“Regarding the marketing of grain, Government is pleased to report that deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board are generally firm, with 88 307 metric tonnes of maize, 7 534 metric tonnes of soyabeans, 7 523 metric tonnes of traditional grains, 215 metric tonnes of premium grade wheat and 367 metric tonnes of ordinary grade wheat having been received as at 5 June 2021.
“Total grain received as at 6 June 2021 is 130 000 metric tonnes. Similarly, daily tobacco sales volumes are very high, with a total of 135 477 886 kilogrammes valued at US$366 535 787 having been traded as at 3 June, 2021. At the same time last year, 104 629 191 kilogrammes worth US$245 555 772 had been sold. About 43% of tobacco sales were through the decentralised selling points, while 93% of the tobacco has been sold under contract,” she said.