Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Pre-planting producer prices for grains and oil seeds have been set, with an 83 percent rise for maize, 85 percent rise for traditional grains and even higher rises for oil seeds.
Farmers have welcomed the move by Grain Marketing Board but have called for continual monitoring of inflation and viability to preserve the value of the crops.
GMB announced pre-planting producer prices for 2022 intake season, which saw the maize producer price being set at $58 553 a tonne, up from $32 000 announced last season.
GMB chief executive, Mr Rockie Mutenha, also announced the prices of traditional grains, which is now pegged at $70 263,90 per tonne, up from $38 000, soya beans at $125 530,17 a tonne, up from $48 000 a tonne, and sunflower at $150 686 a tonne.
Global edible oil prices have been rising fast and GMB prices recognise the inflation in Zimbabwe, farm viability and the alternative cost of imports so that farmers are given a fair deal. Consumers do not receive any subsidy, but vulnerable households are helped.
The old consumer subsidies were dropped as they were fuelling the black market as well as helping both rich and poor, and the money saved was allocated to the social payments system and only those who need help are helped.
Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Trust president Mrs Depinah Nkomo applauded Government for reviewing the producer prices but said farmers expected a maize producer price that is higher than the $58 553 as the new producer price might not be viable by the time the next marketing season opens.
“We appreciate efforts being done by Government to ensure farmers get value for their produce. The current producer price of $32 000 has been eroded by inflation,” she said.
“We, however, expected a higher price for maize considering that it’s a staple food. We are also concerned that by April next year, the price will no longer be viable. Thus, there is need for constant review of the producer prices in line with inflation.”
Zimbabwe Farmers Union secretary general, Mr Paul Zakariya, said while it was good that producer prices for cereals and some oil seeds had been announced, it should be noted that the prices only serve as indicators of where the actual value should be on the day of such an announcement.
“In an environment where prices for everything are unreasonably going up, it will be crucial for the markets including GMB, to closely monitor the producer prices and adjust the same from time to time to ensure grower viability.”
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Dr Shadreck Makombe, said as farmers, they were happy with the pre-planting producer prices.
“It shows the Government is sensitive to the plight of farmers and in the same vein, we encourage Government in a way to look the increase of input prices.
“There is a tendency that when the producer price is increased, all other prices also go high. Unfortunately, the link between the two will not auger well, not only for farmers but even for the economy.
“Given the situation, we also urge businesspeople to be responsible not to continuously chase these producer prices. We should come to an understanding so that there is a win-win situation,” he said.