Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Farmers and stakeholders in the agriculture industry have welcomed the 2021 wheat floor producer prices and urged responsible authorities to constantly review the producer prices in line with market dictates.
The new price, which is expected to incentivise farmers to deliver their wheat crop to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) comes as farmers with an early wheat crop are expected to start harvesting this week.
Cabinet considered and approved proposals for the upward review of the producer price of wheat which was presented by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Anxious Masuka on Tuesday.
Following extensive consultations with various stakeholders, including farmers’ unions, Cabinet approved an upward review of the wheat floor producer price to $55 517,69 per tonne for ordinary grade wheat at a 15 percent return on investment, and $66 621,22 per tonne for premium grade wheat during the 2021 marketing season.
Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) national chairman, Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said the Second Republic was recording success in forging strategic alliances with the private sector in attaining maize and wheat national self-sufficiency.
“We applaud Government in maintaining a competent subsidy regime that will achieve viable producer prices for farmers and on the other hand stabilise prices for bread and other related prices. Subsidy regimes are currently used in the USA and European Union as a key instruments to contain food inflation. It is our fervent hope that the current partnership between the private sector and Government will continue to gain traction and reduce significantly the food import bill,” he said.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union director, Mr Paul Zakariya yesterday said the new producer price was viable and urged authorities to look at the activities on the parallel market which erode farmers’ earnings.
“Wheat producer price is viable as of now. Attention must be paid to the goings on the open market with regards ever-increasing prices. We note with concern, the indexing of prices against the parallel market exchange rate. If this is allowed to continue, the producer price’s value will be eroded and farmers will lose out.
“It will also be critical to continue to monitor the performance of the markets with the view to adjust the producer price in order to preserve value,” he said.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Dr Shadreck Makombe said farmers were happy.
“As farmers we are happy that our concerns on the need for price increase were considered.”
“However, we were expecting a bit more considering that prices of inputs are going up in an unacceptable manner to which we feel the Government should intervene somehow to check the price increase; not necessarily price controls, but some other measures because this chasing of the parallel black market is already eroding the increase.
Mazowe farmer, Mr Garikai Msika said the price was good specially for farmers financed under Command Agriculture as the prices of their inputs were constant.
“We are encouraged by the grading of the wheat into standard and premium. This will motivate farmers to produce a quality crop.
“Farmers should ensure proper handling of the crop during and after harvesting for them to get a premium grade.
“There is a huge difference of money on the grades and we urge farmers to deliver a clean crop to get a good grade,” he said.
The review of the producer price was also necessitated by high costs of production as a result of high inputs prices.
Farmers expect viability in their operations, and are grappling with cost increases in labour, fertilisers, both Compound D and Ammonium Nitrate and tractor and equipment.