By Lynn Munjanja
Government has doubled the producer prices for maize and small grains for the 2019/2020 summer season to cushion farmers in line with the current economic environment characterised by inflation.
Farmers have immediately praised Government for adjusting the producer prices, but called for more given the high input costs.
Grain Marketing Board chief executive officer Mr Rockie Mutenha confirmed the increase in producer prices in a statement yesterday.
“The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) advises that the Government increased the producer prices for maize and traditional grains namely sorghum, millet and rapoko to $4 000 up from $2 100.
“GMB is encouraging farmers who still have grain to take advantage of the new prices and urgently deliver their crop to their nearest depot.
“For any clarification, farmers can contact the GMB corporate communications department,” he said.
Farmer organisations welcomed the adjustments yesterday, but said there was need to continuously review the price given the rise in prices of inputs such as seed, fertilisers and chemicals.
Zimbabwe National Farmers’ Union chief executive officer Mr Edward Dune yesterday applauded Government for increasing the producer prices, but bemoaned the high cost of farming inputs that farmers need for this farming season.
“We appreciate the increase of the producer prices because the low prices were now meaningless.
“This is what should be obtained as regards to commodity prices.
“It is impossible to contemplate how we are going to recapitalise or maintain agricultural sustainability this farming season because inputs are now expensive,” he said.
Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers’ Association Trust president Mrs Depinah Nkomo said the new producer prices came as a relief, but inputs were now expensive.
“It is good that the Government has reviewed these prices, but $4 000 is still very little because our farming inputs are now expensive.
“We hire tractors and tractors need diesel and its about $500 to farm just one hectare. So it’s an issue that is worrying us as farmers, but we are relieved with the increase,” she said.
Apart from the new producer prices, Government has also set up facilities through the Command Agriculture scheme for maize and soya bean and is mainly targeted at A2 farmers.
There is also the Presidential Inputs Scheme meant to enable smallholder farmers become food secure as well as address nutritional requirements at household level.