Farmers at Valley Irrigation Scheme in Kezi have appealed to the government to assist them with combine harvesters amid fears that impending rains will destroy their 50 hectares of the winter wheat crop.
The chairperson of Valley Irrigation Scheme Mr Gibson Zulu said although farmers were anticipating optimum yields from the area planted under command wheat, lack of a combine harvester could lead to field loses.
In an attempt to beat the impending rains the producers have in the meantime resorted to manual harvesting of wheat.
“We are in a very desperate situation because we using manual labour to harvest and that takes a lot of time. If we manage to get a combine harvester we will be able to harvest on time and contribute to the total wheat output,” said the farmers.
The one combine harvester that the province was relying on has since broken thereby leaving farmers in a desperate situation said the provincial crop and livestock specialist Ms Simingapliphi Ngwabi.
“Given that some areas have started experiencing showers, there is need to speed up harvesting of the winter wheat crop in order to reduce losses,” she said.
All things being equal, it is projected that the province will harvest 4 331 tonnes of wheat this year after about 17 farmers took up the command winter wheat programme.
To date 2 821 tonnes of the wheat has been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board by local farmers.