Record wheat harvest expected for Zimbabwe this season

The wheat harvesting season is getting underway in Zimbabwe and indications are that a total harvest of 380 000t will be realised this year.

Record wheat harvest expected for Zimbabwe this season
The large wheat crop expected for Zimbabwe this year is good news all around, especially in light of the current price volatility on the global wheat market, according to Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at Agbiz.
Photo: FW Archive
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This meant that the country would be self-sufficient in terms of wheat in the coming year, according to a report by However, calculations by Agbiz estimated that Zimbabwe’s demand for wheat would reach around 500 000t this season.

According to historical trends, Zimbabwe required about 360 000t of wheat per year to meet domestic demand. As such, a harvest of 380 000t would mean carry-over stock of around 20 000t, based on the average annual demand.

Dr John Basera, permanent secretary of lands, agriculture, fisheries, water and rural development, said in the report that farmers produced enough wheat (156 144t) in 2021 to meet about nine months of domestic demand, which was a major improvement on the previous seasons’ yields.

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“This year we are expecting 380 000t from 79 000ha of winter wheat, so this implies that there is a surplus this year. This is an amazing harvest. There was a great improvement in [the ceasing of rolling blackouts] and interrupted water supply. In 2020, we managed to [plant] 45 000ha while in 2021 we [planted] 66 000ha.”

Since wheat was grown entirely under irrigation during winter, the harvest was not affected by rainfall patterns as long as rainfall was adequate to fill up dams, according to Basera.

Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at Agbiz, told Farmer’s Weekly the envisaged bumper crop would go a long way to lessen Zimbabwe’s reliance on wheat imports, and thus implied a saving for that country in terms of foreign currency reserves. Wheat in the form of bread and white maize were the two main staple food products in Zimbabwe.

“The last time [Zimbabwe] produced a crop close to the current one was in 1990 with 135 000t.”

“Such an excellent crop is good news all around, especially in light of the current price volatility on the global wheat market following the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine,” Sihlobo explained.

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Annelie Coleman represents Farmer’s Weekly in the Free State, North West and Northern Cape. Agriculture is in her blood. She grew up on a maize farm in the Wesselsbron district where her brother is still continuing with the family business. Annelie is passionate about the area she works in and calls it ‘God’s own country’. She’s particularly interested in beef cattle farming, especially with the indigenous African breeds. She’s an avid reader and owns a comprehensive collection of Africana covering hunting in colonial Africa, missionary history of same period, as well as Rhodesian literature.