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Mushandike Irrigation targets 300 hectares of wheat

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Mushandike Irrigation targets 300 hectares of wheat


Ellen Mlambo


MASVINGO – Mushandike, the biggest irrigation scheme in Masvingo Province is projecting to plant 300 hectares of wheat for this year’s winter wheat season, the scheme Agricultural Extension Supervisor Calisto Mukarati has said.

He told The Mirror during a tour of the 847, 5 hectare scheme last Thursday that 225 hectares have already been cleared for planting. Of these, 14.5 hectares have already been planted.

The tour was done during the Provincial Winter Wheat Seminar where farmers discussed issues affecting them with stakeholders including the Ministry Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.

“We planted 355 hectares last season and harvested an average of three tonnes per hectare because our plants were affected by the soaring temperatures. This season we are expecting five tonnes per hectare,” he said.

The winter wheat planting season commenced on April 25 and ends on May 30.

Representing Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Vangelis Haritatos, Agricultural and Rural Development Advisory Services (ARDAS) Acting Chief Director, Leonard Munamati said the national target is 120 000 hectares and over 92 000 hectares have been contracted by various players including the private sector.

He said distribution of inputs and fertilizer is ongoing.  

“We encourage more farmers to come in and plant wheat and for those already growing wheat to increase their hectares. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said that in this period of the El nino induced drought, food security in going to be wheat based and hence we need more wheat. We have a competitive and comparative advantage of growing wheat than any other crop,” he added.  

The scheme draws water from Mushandike Dam and constitutes of 565 farmers from 13 villages.

“Farmers are preparing for winter wheat season and village 15 has so far prepared 21, 5 hectares out of 28, 5 hectares. Some of the challenges we are facing include that our water source, Mushandike Dam has a small catchment area and cannot contain or harvest a lot of water whenever it rains. We have been warned that by September 25, it will be dry. Our main canal has leakages resulting in loses of water before it gets to the farm,” he added.

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