Satellite-aided wheat monitoring scheme activated

By Bridget Mabanda

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement has deployed monitoring teams throughout the country to analyze the inputs which were accessed through the Presidential Winter Scheme and National Enhanced Agricultural Productivity Scheme.

In a statement on the extension of the 2021 winter wheat planning deadline, Honourable Dr Anxious Masuka said farmers are encouraged to plant before the 15th of June 2021.

“Farmers are encouraged to make frantic efforts to plant their wheat ahead of the deadline,” he said.

Masuka also said any farmer who has not used wheat inputs for the schemes after planting deadline should return the inputs to a nearest Grain Marketing Board.

Masuka said targeted hectage wheat farming is in pursuit of the vision of becoming an empowered and prosperous upper middle economy by 2030.

“…wheat self-sufficiency can be attained from this season onwards in line with the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, the Agriculture Recovery Plan and the National Development Strategy 1,” reads the statement.

Cabinet approved a Progress Report on the 2021 Winter Wheat and Barley Planting and Summer Crops Marketing Season.

A total of 92 000 hectares, comprising 85 000 hectares for wheat and 7 000 hectares for barley, was targeted for planting this winter season under the following programmes: Presidential Wheat Scheme (10 000 hectares wheat), Command/CBZ Agro-Yield (10 000 hectares wheat), the Private Sector (15 000 hectares wheat) and Delta (7 000 hectares barley). It is advised that 9 796 hectares have been identified under the Presidential Wheat Scheme as at 3 June 2021, while a total of 65 623 hectares (1 361 farmers) has been contracted under the Command/CBZ Agro-Yield Programme.

Government advised that as at 5 June 2021, a total of 47 519 hectares had been planted to wheat, more than double the area planted at the same time last year.

It is estimated that with the extension, 70 000 to 75 000 hectares of wheat will be planted, translating to an estimated total production of 315 000 to 337 500 metric tonnes.

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