Preparations for this yearâ€™s winter wheat crop are in disarray with farmers said to be wallowing in debt accrued from last season, while government and the GMB have not yet come up with plans for the forthcoming season.
Wheat production is expected to hit record lows this season as stakeholders have once again been caught napping just two months before the official deadline for planting.
With planting of the winter wheat crop expected to start in the first week of April, indications are that, Zimbabwe will this year have the lowest hectarage ever recorded in the country as farmers are not yet ready.
The farmers are said to be choked by debts accrued from last season and are said to be in a wild goose chase with the Grain Marketing Board which has not paid them up to now.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmersâ€™ Union President, Mr. Donald Khumalo said this yearâ€™s situation is serious adding that there is nothing on the ground.
“To be honest with you this year is worse and there are going to be a few farmers who are going back to their farms as there are no resources. The banks are not giving loans and the grain marketing board is not even moved by the farmersâ€™ plight. Itâ€™s really a terrible situation,” said Khumalo.
Zimbabwe has become almost a net importer of wheat despite the local farmers being able to supply the bulk of the crop.
Last year, only 6 000 hectares were put under the crop out of a projected hectarage of 45 000.
Unless stakeholders come up with drastic measures to address the challenges, it appears less than 6 000 hectares will be put under winter wheat this year.