Zimbabwe: High Moisture Content Affects Maize Harvesting

Farmers have so far harvested 70 580 hectares of maize countrywide as the process is being affected by high moisture content and shortages of shellers.

The area harvested translates to 37,2 percent of the planted area.

Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East, are contributing almost 70 percent of the total maize production.

The Weekly Agritex Update states that by June 14, Command Maize harvesting had been completed in Midlands and Matabeleland South provinces while soya bean harvesting had been completed in Mashonaland Central, East and Midlands provinces.

"Challenges include inadequate fuel for harvesting, high moisture content which is affecting harvesting of crop in the field, high moisture content for deliveries of grain to the Grain Marketing Board and shortages of grain dryers, shellers and combine harvesters," said Agritex acting director Mr Stancilae Tapererwa.

The weekly report also attributed the delays in harvesting to long season varieties that had been planted by farmers.

Some farmers in Gutu were waiting for combine harvesters while in some areas the harvested cobs were in temporary structures for further drying.

In some areas, the late planted crop was still in the field and not staked.

Farmers were also facing the challenge of shortage of labour with some casual workers charging as high as US$5 per day.

Farmers planted 189 901 hectares under maize during the 2020/21 season.

So far, farmers in Mashonaland West have harvested 41 500 hectares, Mashonaland East 14 300ha, Manicaland 6 273ha, Mashonaland West 3 417ha, Midlands 2 950ha and Matabeleland South 1 268ha.

Matabeleland North has harvested 210 hectares.

The highest average yield of eight tonnes per hectare is expected in Matabeleland North followed by Mashonaland central at 6 tonnes/ha.

Manicaland expects 5,8 tonnes/ha, Mashonaland East 4,2 tonnes/ha, and Mashonaland West and Midlands 4 t/ha.

Matabeleland South expects 5 tonnes/ha while Masvingo expects 2 tonnes/ha.

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