Shortage of combine harvesters in Mat North to negatively impact upcoming season
Shortage of combine harvesters in Matabeleland North province affected winter cropping and may impact negatively on the upcoming summer season as some communal farmers are yet to shell maize harvested in the previous season let alone harvest their wheat crop.
Indications are that of the three combine harvesters the province acquired under the mechanization program only one is functional, a situation that is affecting the farming cycle at ARDA Jotsholo. This has prompted some farmers to opt out of maize and wheat production in favour of horticultural products.
The problem of combine harvesters is impacting on ARDA Jotsholo Estate which seeks to harvest 200 hectares of wheat to prepare land for 200 hectares for maize and 250 hectares for soya bean. Other farmers are also in the same predicament with several hectares of unharvested maize and tonnes of harvested maize requiring shelling.
Matabeleland North Provincial Agritex officer Mr Dumisani Nyoni confirmed the development and appealed to authorities to consider the province by availing at least three combine harvesters for smooth farming operations in the region.
Matabeleland North province has seen a reduction of wheat production from as high as one thousand hectares at its peak to 600 hectares this previous season with the AGRITEX department conceding that the decline in production of the crop might be a result of farmers shunning the crop for fear of the hustles involved in harvesting as a result of lack of combines.