Zimbabwe: Mash West Sets Maize Target

31 December 2021

MASHONALAND West Province has set a target of 320 000 hectares to be put under maize this year, with farmers now being advised to plant medium and early maturity varieties.

The target is for Government contracted and private maize farming as the province, which is regarded as the breadbasket province of the country, plans to ensure food security in Zimbabwe and cut food import bills.

In 2020/2021 summer cropping season, the province surpassed set targets and was also named the best in the climate-proofed Pfumvudza/Intwasa scheme.

Acting provincial Agritex officer, Mrs Evelyn Ndoro, said the target was achievable.

"We have a target of 320 000 hectares of maize this season and we are working flat out to ensure that it is reached. The target is for both Government-contracted and private maize. Farmers are still planting as most parts of the province received rains late but we are also encouraging them to plant early maturity varieties," she said.

Apart from the maize target, the province is also looking at achieving at least 11 000 hectares under sorghum, 1 000ha pearl millet and 2 000ha under rapoko.

"We have also taken advantage of the Presidential Cotton Input scheme that was extended to cotton to target the white gold at 40 000 hectares and sunflower hectarage of 10 000ha," said Ms Ndoro.

A target of 11 800 hectares under edible beans has also been set.

The province is still conducting assessments to check if the 48 000-hectare target of tobacco has been reached while another target 24 970 hectares of groundnuts seems possible with the coming in of a private company Odzi Food Industries targeting to contract at least 3 000 farmers in Makonde district.

Ms Ndoro said Odzi Food Industries would avail all the inputs and tillage services for a nominal fee that would be deducted when they deliver the groundnuts to the company.

Farmers who spoke to The Herald expressed optimism of another bumper harvest.

Ms Nomhle Mliswa of Summer Hill Farm in Mhangura said at least three-quarters of 220ha arable land from her 345ha farm had been planted.

Some Makonde subsistence farmers who are yet to receive Pfumvudza inputs, bemoaned higher and three-tier pricing on inputs by some seed houses and implored Government to continue disbursing free inputs to cushion them.

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