WHEAT farmers in Manicaland have started harvesting the crop before the onset of the rainy season.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) provincial manager, Mr Daniel Mungazi, said most of the wheat crop in the province was ready for harvesting.

“The early crop is under harvesting on commercial farms ahead of the early rains which might affect the quality of the yield,” he said.

Wheat field

“The state of the crop was good throughout the season showing good management practice by farmers, 90 percent of the wheat in the province has so far reached maturity stage and the other 10 percent is drying.”

Mr Mungazi said farmers were  sourcing combine harvesters to harvest the crop on time.

“Wheat is a crop that has a very sensitive market and if the crop is not harvested on time, that will affect its quality which could be costly to the farmer, so farmers are running around to secure combine harvesters for their crop which is done on a hiring basis,” he said.

Mr Mungazi said Manicaland was expecting a lower yield this season compared to previous years due to deteriorating irrigation infrastructure in the traditional wheat growing areas.

“There is need for Government and the private sector to avail support for the refurbishment of this infrastructure and setting up modern irrigation equipment like the centre pivots which are efficient and cost effective,” he said.

Zimbabwe requires 460 000 tonnes of wheat every year and the country has been a net importer due to high costs of production and erratic power supply.

Government has since introduced the Command Wheat programme which has contributed to an increased yield of 186 243 tonnes of wheat during the 2017 /18 season.