Zimbabwe: “With proceeds mainly from wheat, I have renovated and expanded my house which was three bedrooms to five bedrooms," says Moses Gwatidzo a wheat farmer from Hwedza district 127 kilometres south of Harare, Zimbabwe. "I have also taken my two children to school and bought three cows from wheat,” he adds. Moses is a member of the Hwedza Innovation Platform of the AfDB funded SARD-SC Wheat project of ICARDA. He grows wheat on a 2.5 ha farm in the province of Mashonaland. He has been a wheat farmer for five years. Moses often introduces himself as ‘the best male smallholder wheat farmer in Zimbabwe.’ That is even before he says his name. He explains that while most farmers currently produce 4-5t/ha him he gets eight tons, and that is why he was named the best male wheat farmer and was awarded farm inputs by the Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development Hon. Ringson Chitsiko, mid April 2016. Moses was able to attain the eight tons because of information and support from the innovation platform that was started by SARD-SC Wheat project in collaboration with the Department of Research and Specialist Services DR&SS in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development. Further he grows new wheat varieties introduced to the country from ICARDA.
How Moses attains (8) tons per ha According to Moses, apart from high quality seed, he got important knowledge on water management, wheat crop rotation with legumes and good land preparation. He says he uses a tractor to plough then oxen to ridge the land to make it even. Further, he spreads his seeds evenly in rows so that each side receives a similar amount of seed and uses nutrients evenly. He also practices water management in the field. During winter he waters his farm just once a week so that nutrients remain close to the roots of the wheat crop. Moses keeps part of his wheat harvest as food since his family enjoys eating wheat products. “I am still looking forward to improve the agronomic standards of my farm so that I can earn even more and help my family,” he adds. One of the challenges he faces, especially close to harvest times, is that of birds that eat his wheat. He however explains that during that time, he hires someone to chase away the birds.