Most wheat farmers pulled out of winter wheat production this year due to water and electricity shortages leaving only a few farmers with adequate water planting the crop.

The current wheat hectarage in Masvingo province of 400 hectares is a drop from 523 from last year. Water challenges being experienced in the country have led to some irrigation schemes in Masvingo drying up, resulting in the province missing its targeted winter wheat production hectarage.

Speaking on the side-lines of a field day at Mutendi farm in Masvingo, Agritex Acting provincial officer, Aaron Muchazivepi, said the province had targeted at least 500 hectares of wheat but only 400 were put under the crop.

“We faced water challenges as we did not receive enough rains and farmers ended up not taking up the crop. We also had challenges of load shedding and that affected the winter crop as well as fertiliser availability,” said Muchazivepi.

The country has been having to import wheat because of shortages, resulting in the hikes of bread prices. Zimbabwe requires about 30 000 tons of wheat per month.

The Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement ministry previously reported that farmers across the country had failed to put together the targeted 75 000 hectares of land under winter wheat.