Horticulture set for ZMX trading platform debut Mr Collen Tapfumaneyi

Edgar Vhera Agriculture Specialist Writer

FOLLOWING numerous testaments by smallholder horticulture farmers in Mutoko on how they are incurring serious income losses, thanks to various challenges, the Zimbabwe Mercantile Exchange (ZMX) recently announced plans to introduce horticulture trading on its platform.

This came out during a smallholder horticulture conference convened by Zimbabwe Newspapers Limited (1980) in Mutoko recently to explore ways of making the farmers’ more sustainable and profitable.

The farmers cited among other things, the absence of functional marketing structures and systems, which saw them failing to have reliable transport and storage facilities at the markets resulting in heavy storage charges as well as losses.

Farmers said they had no choice but to go to Harare in search of markets where they encountered challenges such as breakdowns of trucks ferrying them to the market, double charging at Mbare Market and low prices for their produce.

ZMX chief executive officer Mr Collen Tapfumaneyi said his organisation was considering establishing a certified warehouse in Mutoko.

“We established the Warehouse Receipt System (WRS) for safe storage, price discovery and trade of agriculture commodities. As we have added horticulture and livestock on the initial list of 49 commodities, we are planning to have a certified warehouse in Mutoko,” the ZMX chief said.

He said horticultural commodities by their perishable nature required cold-chain facilities unlike grain crops.

Explaining the modalities of the trading platform, Mr Tapfumaneyi said a farmer gets a warehouse receipt upon delivering his/her produce, which acts like money.

“Farmers’ worries about post-harvest losses will be a thing of the past, as the responsibility of maintaining the produce in good condition is passed over to the warehouse operator. The warehouse receipt is recognised by banks and the Government has granted it liquid status,” Mr Tapfumaneyi added.

He explained that if a farmer wanted to sell produce, he/she would not need to ferry it to the market but just inform ZMX about his intentions by placing an offer and if it finds a suitable bid, the exchange takes place with the farmer getting cash while the buyer gets the product. A farmer has the option of doing a partial sell to get some cash or can even withdraw the product.

“ZMX facilitates the ferrying of produce from the farm gate to the warehouse. It can also act in partnership with the regional commodity exchange to facilitate the selling and buying of products within Africa,” Mr Tapfumaneyi further observed.

Meanwhile, as many farmers and consumers warm up to convenient trading introduced by the ZMX commodity platform, owners of warehouses have been urged to register with ZMX for income generation.

In a recent X (formerly twitter) post, ZMX said: “Do you have storage space? We have business for you. Do not let your warehouse go to waste. Register on ZMX today and unlock the potential to earn extra cash while contributing to the agricultural commodity trading.”

The ZMX said in accordance with the provisions of Agricultural Marketing Authority [Zimbabwe Mercantile Exchange] Rules 2021 section 5 (2b), it invites interested warehouse operators to apply for registration and certification of warehouse operators and persons under the Warehouse Receipt System (WRS).

The warehouse must be fit for the purpose of storing goods specified in the licence, soundly constructed of durable material, well-maintained with effective drainage and provide insurance cover among other requirements, said the notice.

To date ZMX has registered 31 warehouses across the country, as it enters its second year of trading.


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