MASVINGO-Sixty three percent of winter wheat in Masvingo Province has reached grain filling stage and 30% of the crop is at physiological maturity and ready for harvesting.

Provincial Agritex agronomist, Sabina Chaduka told The Midweek Watch in an interview recently that of the 2 173 hectares put under wheat production in Masvingo Province 63% of the crop is now at grain filling stage, 30% has reached maturity stage and ready for harvesting and 5% at soft dough.

According to national projections Masvingo Province is set to contribute 13% of the total wheat production of the 405 000 tons in the country for 2022 season.

“Total area planted for the Province in 2022 is 2173hectares, in 2021 the area was 2062 hectares therefore we recorded a 5% increase in area planted under the following categories: Presidential Scheme has the largest proportion with 1769hectares, AFC 133 hectares, CBZ Agroyield 61 hectares and the remainder is self-funded, said Chaduka.

Wheat production in the country has increased from 3 419kg per hectare 2011 to between 5 000 and 8 000kgs currently and the total hectarage planted countrywide is over 75 000 in 2022. The country requires 360 000 tons of wheat per year and this year’s production is set to surpass that.

“As Agritex we are encouraging farmers to harvest matured wheat before the onset of the rains in order to maintain good quality and minimise loss of the produce,” added Chaduka.

Meanwhile, one of the biggest wheat farmers in the Province, Davis Marapira who is also the Minister State in the Office of the President and Cabinet responsible for Agricultural Special Projects is projecting to harvest over 800 tons of the winter crop.

Marapira has planted 100 hectares of winter wheat and all the produce will be used for seed by listed seed house, SeedCo for the 2023 crop. He produces eight tons per hectare of wheat, which is one of the highest yields in the country.

“The country requires quality seeds in order to realise a good harvest of the winter wheat crop hence I have decided to produce seed in partnership with SeedCo. This is a highly specialized area and not all farmers are capable of producing high quality seeds hence only a few are selected for that. For every hectare you need 120 to 180kgs of seed depending on the time of planting and the method of planting, either through seedrill or vicon spreading,” said Marapira.

Marapira runs the 450h Lamort Farm on the outskirts of Masvingo City and has three centre pivots capable of irrigating 90h each.

Lamort has a thriving cattle herd of over 2000, goats, sheep and there are big plans to have a recreational park with all types of animals for tourists as there is enough land and water on the farm.

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