Michael Tome Business Reporter
GRAIN Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has appointed National Wheat Contract Farming Committee (NWCFC), a technical committee to lead the winter wheat contract farming for the next three years.
The NWCFC appointment is a private sector response to Finance and Economic Development’s Minister Mthuli Ncube’s sentiments in the 2019 national budget statement where he called upon the private sector to be proactive and conduct contract farming activities to compliment Government agriculture support interventions.
NWCFC comprises of seasoned agriculture sector specialists that include Walter Chigodora (SeedCo), Bruce Mawere (Export Trading Group), Roopak Bandra Holland ( Holbud Limited), Brendan Smyth (Origen), Keith Bell (Agro Chemicals Association), Adrian Carbutt (Rift Valley), Prosper Chiyanike (Metbank Limited), Johnson Mahanya (Ecobank), Exodus Donzvambeva (Wintertons), Andy Pascoe (Commercial Farmers Union), Shadreck Makombe (Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union) and Tapiwa Mashingaidze (Fertilisers Manufacturers Association).
Key responsibilities of the committee encompass:
Promotion and expansion of contract wheat farming in all districts of the country through attraction of new local and international investors.
To design, promote and supervise agro extension services for the contracted, negotiation of wheat producer prices and subsidies with Government and farmers’ unions.
The committee will also focus on developing of legally binding contract farming agreements as well as coordinating an efficient farm inputs and machinery mobilisation programme locally.
NWCFC will be chaired by GMAZ chairman Mr Tafadzwa Musarara, deputised by Graeme Murdoch of Paper Hall Investment.
In a statement released by GMAZ, the aim of the committee is to stimulate wheat production in the country with a bid to acquire a minimum of 150 000 tonnes for the next three years.
“The national wheat contract farming committee will be chaired by GMAZ chairman Tafadzwa Musarara and deputised by Graeme Murdoch of Paperhole Investments (PHI) and will be charged with responsibility to mobilise inputs and machinery for the production of at least 150 000 metric tonnes of wheat valued circa $80 million,” said GMAZ.
The Initiative comes at a time when Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri is on record saying the country is working on increasing the hectarage of wheat from 43 000 to ensure self-sufficiency, save foreign currency and create more jobs for youths and women.
Zimbabwe requires at least 450 000 tonnes of wheat per year to meet the national bread requirements of nearly a million loaves per day.