Zimbabwe is on track to achieve its highest-ever wheat harvest of over 415,000 tonnes this year, according to data collected by the country’s first satellite, ZimSat-1. This represents a 10 percent increase from the previous record harvest of the last season. The Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA) used multi-temporal satellite images collected between May and August to accurately project this year’s winter crop production.
The technique involves acquiring satellite images of the same area at different times, providing valuable insights into crop growth and agricultural conditions. The data from ZimSat-1 shows that Zimbabwe is projected to harvest 415,000 tonnes of wheat and 15,000 tonnes of barley, with approximately 79,928.55 hectares of agricultural land dedicated to winter wheat cultivation.
ZINGSA coordinator Mr. Painos Gweme stated that preparations are underway to conduct mapping for the upcoming summer cropping season, indicating that the focus is currently on winter mapping. The data collection for winter wheat mapping utilized multi-temporal satellite images, enabling accurate mapping purposes. These projections are based on an average yield of 5.2 tonnes per hectare.
The data also reveals the distribution of wheat cultivation across different provinces of Zimbabwe. Farmers in Mashonaland West province have planted the most hectares of winter wheat, followed by Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East. Other significant contributions come from Manicaland, Midlands, Masvingo, and Matabeleland provinces.
This record-breaking wheat harvest is expected to boost Zimbabwe’s aspirations to become a net exporter of wheat. President Mnangagwa highlighted the empowerment and capacitation of communal and small-scale farmers as key factors contributing to the country’s food and nutrition security. With this year’s surplus harvest, Zimbabwe is poised to start exporting wheat.
The accurate projections of crop production provided by ZimSat-1’s satellite data demonstrate the potential for satellite technology to revolutionize agriculture in Zimbabwe. By leveraging this technology, farmers and agricultural authorities can make more informed and data-driven decisions to improve productivity and ensure food security for the country.