ZIMBABWE’S largest beverages producer, Delta Corporation, has set aside US$3,913 million for the 2021/2022 farming season under the firm’s outgrower schemes targeting farmers across the country.
Delta, which produces traditional and clear beers, is a major consumer of grain and usually contracts farmers to produce barley, sorghum and maize.
Responding to written questions from Business Chronicle, the company’s corporate affairs executive, Ms Patricia Murambinda, said in the upcoming season they were setting aside US$2,749 million targeting 2 000 hectares under maize through contract farming from which 14 000 tonnes would be produced.
The beverages producer has earmarked to spend US$1,163 million on 8 835ha of sorghum under the contract arrangement from which 14 421 tonnes are expected.
“Delta contracting programmes owe their success to the company striving to maintain a win-win situation with farmers no matter the season,” she said.
“This drive by the company has seen Delta retaining and growing its grower base, with farmers being guaranteed of a market for the produce each and every year.”
Input finance for the programmes cover seed, fertilisers, chemicals, working capital, capital expenditure, technical services, research and development.
Benefits of the outgrower schemes also include security of supply for Delta agro-raw materials, desired quality of raw materials at best cost, increased returns for farmers, enhanced food security, and import substitution, thus saving the country the much-needed foreign currency.
Recently, after touring 400ha of barley at Resurge Farm in Selous under Chegutu district, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka said Delta has contracted collectively 7 000ha under the barley crop throughout the country.
He said this meant that Delta would be able to generate 35 000 tonnes of barley, which is more than their requirement of 22 000 tonnes.
Dr Masuka noted that the corporate sector was producing more than enough for Zimbabwe and was able to export.
Barley, a cereal grain, apart from being used in the brewing of beer and alcoholic beverages, is also used to make medicine for heart diseases and high cholesterol.
Delta began the contract scheme of barley in 1975 after setting up a malting plant, sorghum in the early 1980s and maize in the early 2000s.
The company has annual requirements of at least 65 000 tonnes of maize, 13 000 tonnes of red sorghum and 3 000 tonnes of eagle sorghum.