Wheat planting in Umguza irrigation lot is running behind schedule as farmers are facing problems getting adequate tractors for the winter crop.
Although wheat planting is already in progress in some parts of the province, farmers in Umguza have been facing a myriad of challenges that has delayed the planting of the winter crop with only 43 hectares planted so far.
Accessing fuel is one of the challenges that is delaying the planting.
Umguza Irrigation Farmers Association chairperson, Mr Falakhe Dube said farmers are only operating with one tractor for which they have to pay an exorbitant fee of US$20 and 40 litres of diesel per hectare.
“Farmers here have a problem because there`s only one tractor which we rely on, it’s not even ours we have to hire it from the owner and farmers are not happy about the prices of hire because they cannot afford them,” said Mr Dube.
The farmers have also been struggling to get fuel to enable them to kick off the planting.
Due to the challenges, only 24 farmers have committed themselves to wheat production on 176 hectares of land.
Matabeleland North Province has set a target to plant a total of 650 hectares during the 2017 wheat farming season.