Wheat farmers in Chipinge are appealing for government subsidies to increase production, amid wheat shortages in the country.

A Chipinge wheat farmer Mr Patrick Makwambeni says the country has the capacity to supply its own wheat if farmers are adequately capacitated.

“In Chipinge, we have the right temperatures and enough rainfall to grow wheat but we need government to subsidise so that farmers are well capacity to tackle the expenses and attention needed on wheat production,” Mr Makwambeni said.

Over the years, wheat production, especially in the lower part of Chipinge district has suffered from quelea bird attacks, a challenge which has not affected the upper Chipinge region, making it favourable for wheat production.

“We have managed to control the problem of quelea birds here through manual labour. We have workers chasing them away every time. So the amount of birds are sizeable, thus farmers can venture into wheat production without fear,” another farmer, Mrs Evelyn Makwambeni said.

Chairperson of Command Agriculture in Chipinge, Mr Tapuwanashe Chagwesha noted that the majority of farmers in the district have the potential but lack capital to pursue wheat production.

“Upper Chipinge is very ideal for wheat production. The bulk of farmers have idle irrigation equipment that only needs a bit of attention. If government could identify and support these farmers, we can help cut down the wheat import bill,” he said.

The country has of late been facing wheat shortages which have in turn led to massive bread price hikes.