Wheat planting has started at a slow pace as many farmers are failing to mobilise resources after Government withdrew input support for the 2014 winter cropping season.
Over the years Government availed inputs to assist wheat farmers but production has been declining due to a number of reasons that include constant power cuts.
There are fears that the country might fail to harvest 29 000 tonnes targeted this season.
"Many farmers have stopped growing the crop as it is not competitive. Others who had been growing barley under contract farming were also affected by lack of funding," he said.
Mr Chabikwa said Delta, one of the major contractors, indicated that it had high stocks of barley malt and downsized support to farmers by 70 percent.
"We are likely not going to meet the wheat target. The challenge of funding was also coupled by the delay in the harvesting of summer crops especially soyabeans," he said.
Mr Chabikwa said
"Some countries such as
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr
In his 2013/14 national budget presentantion, Finance Minister
"It costs approximately
"Challenges that have continued to affect the production of the crop include erratic power supply for irrigation, funding and high production costs, among others, making the production of the crop unviable," he said.
Financial institutions are reluctant to fund the crop citing high risk.
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