Harvesting of maize and soya beans has started as farmers prepare for wheat cropping, whilst others have already planted the winter cereal in Mashonaland Central Province.

The early maize and soya bean harvest will give room for farmers to prepare the land for wheat cropping which starts on 1 May.

Glendale farmer, Mr Kumbirai Chinyemba said soya has dried sufficiently but maize requires additional drying of up to 12.5 moisture content.

“By the first of May, I should have planted my wheat so I’m taking the maize to the driers in Concession since it’s about 18.5 percent moisture content which is too high. There wasn’t sufficient rainfall so my yields are lower than expected. I’m expecting 3.8 to 4.5 tonnes per hectare for soya beans and 10 to 15 tonnes for maize,” said Mr Chinyemba.

With 90 percent of maize written off in parts of this province like Mbire, wheat production in the Mazowe green belt will increase food security and reduce the import bill.

Mashonaland Central provincial agronomist Mr Izah Jaidi urged wheat growers to exploit the first two weeks of May in order to get the best possible yields.

“There are two things farmers must do because it is important for wheat to develop many dollars which grow well in cold temperatures and then booting will take place optimally when it’s warmer. So farmers should utilise the first two weeks of May to plant wheat,” said Mr Jaidi.

Last year, the province generated 6 000 tonnes of wheat out of a targeted 9 000 tonnes.

Following a lean rainfall season, 47 percent of households in Mashonaland Central are food insecure, which is the lowest in the country.

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