ZMX to fortify alliances with financiers before marketing season Mr Paul Zakariya

Tariro Stacey Gatsi

AFTER inadequate financing almost disrupted trading on the Zimbabwe Mercantile Exchange (ZMX) last year, ZMX has announced plans to strengthen collaborations with diverse financiers by September 2024 to avoid a repetition of the debacle that left some farmers unable to participate.

ZMX is an electronic agricultural commodity platform launched in August 2021 and one of the exchange’s key objectives is to provide an open market for commodities with willing buyers and willing sellers providing price discovery mechanisms.

In an interview, ZMX General Manager Mr Garikayi Munema emphasised the significance of such collaborations in assisting farmers.

Said Mr Munema: “Although the initiative was initially scheduled to commence in December of the previous farming season, it has been postponed to coincide with the next planting season in September. ZMX intends to partner with banks and private contractors, starting from the value chain, to provide necessary support to farmers across the country, regardless of the size of their farms. The trading platform was designed to be accessible to all farmers.”

Mr Munema said although ZMX encouraged self-financed farmers to come and sell on their platform, this initiative would be coming as an added advantage to everyone even those who were being limited by contractual arrangements.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) Secretary General Mr Paul Zakariya yesterday expressed concerns that many farmers were failing to take advantage of the benefits offered by the exchange platform as many were producing under contract arrangements.

He observed that most farmers who grow basic commodities relied on contractors for funding, which hindered their participation. He threw his weight behind the idea of collaborations between ZMX and other platforms to ensure friendly and proper financing of primary production, as contracting had become a major limitation for all farmers.

Mr Zakariya also added that there was need to prioritise farmer education and training programmes that enhanced farmers’ knowledge and skills on the trading platform so that they can effectively navigate the complexities of the exchange system and optimise their participation.

“Farmers are not too sure on how the platform operates. They need to get more information on how it works for them to understand it better,” said Mr Zakariya.

Meanwhile, A2 farmers who used the platform in the last trading season have confirmed recording impressive results. They also welcomed the ZMX’s recently announced cross border trading plans saying it would provide them with opportunities to compete in the global market while boosting productivity in the process.

A farmer from Drake Farm of Pinento Park in Bindura, Mr Chriswell Vava expressed was full of praise for ZMX saying it had become a highly reputable commodity exchange and broking platform.

“Their services are five-star and meet international standards. As an A2 farmer, I am confident their initiative to introduce cross border trading will succeed. The inclusion of horticulture and livestock products on the trading platform is going to place farmers into an advantageous position.

“Farmers are tired of being misrepresented by middlemen who prioritise their own profits,” said Mr Vava.

Another farmer, from Mazowe West, Mr Mark Mtandwa shared his positive experiences selling maize through ZMX at the Aspindale Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depot.

“It was my first time working with ZMX and the process went smoothly. I later referred some of my colleagues to go and trade on the platform,” he said.

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