Farmers welcome grains new producer prices

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Farmers have welcomed the new producer prices announced by the Government with concerns over the prices of inputs. The Government on Tuesday announced new producer prices for various crops for the 2022 farming season reflective of the current economic situation. Cabinet approved the proposal by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement to review the producer prices for maize, soya bean, traditional grains and sunflower.

The new floor producer prices for maize and traditional grains have been set at $75 000 per tonne, up from $58 553 for maize and $70 263,90 for traditional grains set earlier. For soya beans, the floor producer price has been set at $171 495, up from $125 530,17, while the price for sunflower is now $205 794,52 a tonne, up from $150 686,20. The farmers said the producer prices were reasonable, but will be eroded if the prices of inputs such as seed, fertilisers and chemicals continued to rise. Zimbabwe Farmers Union secretary general Mr Paul Zakariya applauded the Government for increasing producer prices and said the real issue was on addressing the stability of prices of inputs.

“Producer prices should be reviewed from time to time if possible on a weekly basis so that farmers do not lose out. “Suppliers want to be paid in United States dollars while farmers are being paid in zim dollars. “A bag of ammonium nitrate costs about US$73 but farmers are being paid in Zimbabwean dollars so we want to have all that addressed for the producer prices to be viable otherwise this will present some challenges. “Most farmers have not started delivering their maize to GMB because most farmers have not finished harvesting and most probably harvesting will finish in May,” he said.

Farmer Mr George Seremwe said farmers will be motivated to produce more by the new producer prices. “It’s a positive development which will make it more viable for the farmer to produce more and more. “We are also noticing that a lot of farmers are hesitant to grow wheat because of the producer prices and electricity is expensive so it is kind of worrying. “Most farmers have not started delivering to GMB because the season started very late and those who planted earlier cannot harvest because of continuous rains,” he said.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Shadreck Makombe said this was a very welcome development but however increasing prices have become very worrisome to the farmers. “As farmers we appreciate and acknowledge this development because by increasing these prices it shows that the Government is alive and hears our concerns as farmers. “However we would want the Government to continue doing this because already suppliers have increased prices for inputs and to make matters worse these prices are in United States dollars and at black market rate which has more than doubled the official Zimbabwean dollar rate.

“As farmers we are caught between hard ground and rock but we acknowledge and appreciate this development.” Cabinet noted that the main objective of the next summer programme was to sustainably increase crop and livestock production through implementation of critical strategies such as ensuring that crop and livestock production conformed to appropriate agro-ecological regions, acceleration of the climate proofing Pfumvudza programme through training plus the inclusion of agro chemicals and water retention enhancers in input packages, and timely provision of fertilisers, seed and tillage services.