Agriculture Specialist Writer
BUOYED by the rains that fell across the country recently, farmers had as of December 5, planted 163 116 hectares of maize, sorghum and pearl millet marking a 42 percent jump from the 115 060ha that had been planted during the same period last year.
Agricultural and Rural Development Advisory Services (ARDAS) chief director Professor Obert Jiri revealed this yesterday in the weekly summer season preparedness report dated December 5.
Sorghum had the largest rise in area planted from 5 831ha in 2021 to 23 986ha for 2022 – a giant leap of 311 percent. Pearl millet was second with a 111 percent surge with maize coming last on a distant 21 percent.
Crop Area planted (ha) 2022 (Dec 5) Area planted (ha) 2021 (Dec 5) Percentage difference (%)
Maize 123 748 101 952 21
Sorghum 23 986 5 831 311
Pearl millet 15 382 7 277 111
Total 163 116 115 060 42
The Government has set yield targets for maize, sorghum and pearl millet at 3 million, 380 000 and 150 000 tonnes respectively this season with the planted hectarage to date giving credence to the possibility of achieving the feat.
A total of 117 220ha of land have been planted to maize under Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme, while AFC and ARDA have 580 and 5 948 hectares apart to give 123 748ha.
To show the Government’s resolve to achieve its set targets, all the eight rural provinces have since received 11 135 tonnes of maize seed against a target of 14 868 tonnes, representing a 75 percent success rate, with the balance on its way.
Masvingo province has received the largest share of its maize seed requirements at 98 percent followed by Manicaland at 83 percent and Matabeleland South at 79 percent.
For all the eight rural provinces 9 151 tonnes of maize seed have been distributed, which constitutes 82 percent of the maize seed received to date. Mashonaland Central province accounted for the largest share of the distributed inputs having disbursed 94 percent of their seed, followed by Mashonaland West with 92 and Masvingo at 85 percent.
For sorghum, a national target of 402 569ha was set and 5 240ha have been planted under Pfumvudza/Intwasa with self-financed farmers chipping in with 18 746ha to bring the total to 23 986ha (six percent of national target).
The country’s eight rural provinces have received 949 tonnes of sorghum seed against a target of 5 963 tonnes, representing 16 percent. Fifty-five percent of the sorghum seed has also been distributed with Matabeleland North province getting the lion’s share at 200 tonnes followed by Mashonaland East and Masvingo provinces at 149 tonnes each.
Area planted under pearl millet for the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme stands at 2 264ha, with self-financed farmers on 13 118ha – a total of 15 382ha against a national target of 252 321ha.
Only three provinces – Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North and Mashonaland East have received a joint total of 255 tonnes of pearl millet seed from a national target of 2 026 tonnes, representing about 13 percent. Only 48 tonnes (19 percent) of the received seed has been distributed.
In terms of national land preparations, a total of 2 210 266 households in the country’s eight rural provinces have prepared at least one plot with an equivalent cumulative area of 320 094ha. Households having done one plot accounted for 36 percent while those with two plots represented 25 percent of all the pot holders while 75 912 households have applied lime with 512 703 only managing to gather mulch.