News Column

Farmers Welcome New Grain Prices

August 18, 2014

Farmers have welcomed the new grain prices set by Government saying the new prices will bring viability to grain production.

Statutory Instrument 122 of 2014 gazetted last week sets the price of maize and sorghum at $390 per tonne. The new prices are with effect from April this year.

Under the SI, the Agriculture Marketing Authority (minimum Grain Producer Prices, 2014), the Minister (of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development) may announce the minimum producer price of maize, sorghum, pearl millet, wheat and finger millet at the beginning of the marketing season.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said unions had been advocating for protection from unscrupulous buyers and the regulatory framework was a victory on the part of farmers.

He said some buyers were buying maize at prices below $200 per tonne.

"We welcome the development as it will bring back viability to grains," said Mr Chabikwa.

"Farmers were no longer willing to produce grains because of the poor prices.

"The issue of poor pricing is the one that is affecting the cotton industry and it was slowly encroaching to grains. Most farmers are moving away from maize and this is not healthy considering that it is staple crop."

Mr Chabikwa said since long back, producer prices used to be gazetted with authorities taking into consideration farmers' viability.

"Buyers were guided by the prices announced by Government," he said.

"Producer prices should enable farmers to go back to the land the following season."

Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust Mrs Depinah Nkomo said the move taken by Government was good, but the challenge was in the implementation.

"This is a positive development, but who will monitor the buyers when they buy maize from farmers?" she said.

"Buyers are aware of the GMB's incapacity to pay farmers instant cash and will continue to offer less money. Farmers on the other hand will continue to sell the grain for unviable prices because they will be desperate for cash.

"GMB should be recapitalised so that the parastatal is able to buy grain and offer cash to farmers."

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Source: AllAfrica

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