Wheat field

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.

Problems

  • Wheat rust and fungal infection requiring expensive chemicals to combat.
  • Drought
  • Quelea birds eating the crop before.
  • Harvesting
  • Shortage of machinery at harvesting such machinery has to be hire from South Africa.

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