Farmers have delivered more than 8 000 tonnes of wheat from the 2020 winter cropping season, as harvesting of the early-planted crop progresses.The GMB had received the wheat from farmers by Friday.Zimbabwe is expected to harvest nine months’ supply of wheat from the 2020 winter crop, saving the Government up to US$100 million in imports.

GMB is buying utility of ordinary wheat at $43 778, 84 per tonne, while farmers with grade A will be paid a premium price of 20 percent above the utility grade up to $52 534.61 per tonne.

GMB chief executive, Mr Rockie Mutenha, confirmed that some farmers had started delivering wheat to the GMB depots.

“Wheat is combine harvested and delivered in bulk, so farmers are currently making own arrangements,” he said.

“We are also still receiving maize. However, activity at collection points is now low, hence we closed most of them end of September. Depots still remain open to receive maize and traditional grain.”

Zimbabwe National Farmers Union vice president, Mr Edward Dune, said harvesting had started on time and the bulk of the crop will not be affected by early rains.

“Wheat is indeed the second most important cereal in Zimbabwean agriculture, as it is a raw product in bread production, therefore, wheat producers play an equally important role in proficiency and efficiency of the bread production value chain,” he said.

“In most cases, these are large scale commercial farmers with irrigation and mainly practising precision agriculture, hence operations like harvesting, irrigating, fertilising, herbiciding, among others, have to be done timeously. To this end, the harvesting season has commenced on time.

“Farmers experienced water shortages for irrigation during the season, but at least we will get there in terms of yield and crop quality.”

Mr Dune advised farmers to accelerate harvesting operations to avoid quality compromises if it rains before wheat is harvested.

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement is also working on introducing summer wheat production starting with the 2021-2022 season to ensure wheat self-sufficiency and cut future imports.

The Ministry is working on the multiplication of wheat seed in preparation for the 2021-2022 summer wheat cropping season.

Zimbabwe requires at least 400 000 tonnes of wheat a year to meet its flour demands, a tonnage the Ministry is keen to achieve in line with the Government’s Vision 2030 of an upper middle income economy.