The Sunday News
Matabeleland North winter wheat farmers have welcomed the approval by government to review upwards the producer price, while calling for more support in the form of combined harvesters.
In a statement released on Thursday, the Grain marketing board announced government’s approval to review upwards the producer price for winter wheat for the 2020/21 marketing season.
“Government has approved the upward review of the Producer Price for Winter Wheat for the 2020/21 Marketing season as follows:
a) BS Utility (ordinary) Wheat ZWL 43 778.84/Metric tonne (mt)
b) Grade A Wheat will be paid a premium price of 20% above the utility grade. This brings the price of Grade A wheat to ZWL 52 534.61/mt,” reads the statement
Winter wheat farmers who spoke to Sunday News at Umguza in Matabeleland North said while they welcome the development they call for more support in the form of inputs and combine harvesters.
“We welcome the move by government to review the producer price, as we speak we are looking forward to harvesting 6 to 7 tonnes per hactor and what is holding us back from harvesting is that we do not have combine harvesters and we are pleading with government to help us so that we do not run a loss,” said one of the farmers who identified himself as Nyoni.
Another local farmer Faith Chinhamatira said that they were happy with the upward review by government but however, expressed that while they expected to get 5 to 6 tonnes per hactor they had fears that they will harvest late as inputs came late.
“We are happy with these producer prices that were announced but the challenge is that we won’t harvest in time as inputs came late,” said Chinamatira
She further called for government support in the form of combined harvesters.
“The other challenge is that we don’t have combine harvesters and that will cause us to harvest late with fears that our crops might even end up drying up,”said Chinamatira
Another winter wheat farmer in the area Remedious Nkomboni said as wheat farmers, they were happy with the upward review and called for frequent reviews of producer prices.
“We are very happy with the prices that were announced on Thursday and we hope government will continue reviewing the prices,” said Nkomboni.
Agricultural Economist Sisasenkosi Fumhanda said while the increase is expected to boost farmers’ production, the current economic situation would require frequent review to meet the rising pricing of inputs.
“The price increase is expected to enhance farmers ability to reproduce again by making sure they get a positive return on their investments but with the current economic situation, the current producer price increase might not be enough of a counter weight to the continuously rising cost of inputs.
The prices of fertilizer, pesticide and fuel(to mention but a few inputs) is on the rise hence it is inevitable for the producer price to increase also, but without holding down the costs of inputs that go into the production process, the farmer might as well be operating on equilibrium,”said Fumhanda.
Minister of State for Matabeleland North, Cde Richard Moyo weighed in saying that the upward review of prices would go a long way in helping the farmers and ultimately increasing production.
The announced producer price is with immediate effect and the currency of the prices is in Zimbabwean dollar.