ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes:Agriculture:Farming types in Africa: Wheat farming in Zimbabwe
Growing conditions and growing area
- Very capital-intensive crop growth mainly by commercial farmers in Zimbabwe.
- Capital required for seeds, irrigation equipment, fertilizers and machinery.
- Being a temperate crop, it is grown in winter under irrigation.
- Rainfall must be at least 1 000 mm and temperature between 15-24°
- Soils required are stiff loamy or clayey but well-drained soils necessary.
- Flat or undulating land ideal to enable use of machinery at harvesting.
- Main growing season is April to September.
- As crops grows irrigation by boom or overhead sprinkler method occurs as well as spraying by hand or light aircraft.
- As the crops ripens, irrigation stops, seeds harden and dry up awaiting harvesting by combine harvesters.
- Crop must be protected against birds.
Processing and marketing
- Wheat harvesting is done by use of combine harvesters which is cut and thrash the crop, leaving behind thick broken stalks to use as livestock feed.
- The harvested wheat is collected in tractors to GMB depots.
- It is sold to millers by the Zimbabwe Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ZIMACE) who grind it to flour for bread, scones and cakes.
- Zimbabwe produces 200 000 tonnes annually and must import another 100 000 tonnes to meet local demand.
- Wheat rust and fungal infection requiring expensive chemicals to combat.
- Quelea birds eating the crop before.
- Shortage of machinery at harvesting such machinery has to be hire from South Africa.
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