HON. MAKONI: My question is directed to the Leader of the House. This year we do not have enough wheat due to the drought. What preparations do you have in place so that we have enough stocks?
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. SEN. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI): Thank you Madam Speaker. We are aware of this issue and it is of great concern to us because we are using a lot of money to purchase wheat from other countries, yet we have the capability to produce enough wheat in our country. The problem is of irrigation because some of our schemes are not functioning and needs rehabilitation. So, we have funds set aside for that but the funds are not sufficient. We have dams that have water but we do not have irrigation. We are looking forward that if resources are made available we will put irrigation schemes near some of these dams. We want to teach our farmers to farm wheat so that we get high yields by using the best agronomic practices.
The other problem that we have is that maize will take time to dry and this will cause wheat to be planted late, if wheat is planted untimely this will affect the produce. Government is looking at acquiring drying facilities to dry maize so that it will not stay long in the field and the field will be available for wheat farming. These are some of the measures that we taking so that we improve wheat production. The research unit is researching on other possible varieties of wheat that will enable us to have high yields. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MAKONI: Thank you Madam President. I thank you for the question asked by the Hon. Member and the answer given by the Hon. Minister. My question is, is there any guarantee Hon. Minister that we will continue to have adequate bread supplies despite the challenges, because we love bread and our families love bread – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. MUSABAYANA: I thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is that I have heard the plans that are in place for us to have high produce of wheat. I heard that the wheat that we produce in this country is not of good quality. Does the Government have plans to introduce other varieties so that we produce good quality wheat and have high quality bread without importing wheat from outside?
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGERICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. RTD. AIR MARSHAL SHIRI): Thank you Madam Speaker. The issue of good bread is a relative term. When we say we want the best bread, it shows that the term is broad. That is why some people buy bread from OK and some buy Proton whilst others prefer home-made bread. We intend to grow gritty wheat which bakes good bread. We hope to start this season to grow gritty wheat. It is difficult to grow and farmers need a lot of support. As Government, we will support them in growing this wheat which makes palatable bread.