Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
Farmers have welcomed the pre-planting producer price announced by Government as viable and profitable, but said input suppliers need to keep their seed, fertiliser and chemicals prices stable.
Prices for the present cropping season were announced as part of the Agriculture Recovery Plan as Government takes further significant steps aimed at boosting agricultural productivity and ensuring food self-sufficiency.
The price for maize is $32 000 a tonne, for traditional grains $38 000 a tonne and for soya beans $48 000 a tonne.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union director Mr Paul Zakariya yesterday said the announced pre-planting prices had been received well and the move would spur production as expectations were quite high.
“The prices help producers to plan and make informed decisions.
“It will be very important to support this with a bit of stability in relation to retail prices for inputs and other consumables. Production costs will need to be contained in order to ensure viability,” he said.
Mr Zakariya said farmers appreciated currency stability over the last five months.
“We hope this trend is maintained as this speaks to whether value of the announced prices will be maintained or not. On the whole, this effort is greatly appreciated,” he said.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Dr Shadreck Makombe commended Government for the intervention, but discouraged input suppliers from increasing prices.
“The pre-planting producer prices are commendable and at the same time we appreciate Government’s effort. Unfortunately, the past trend has been that when producer prices are increased, suppliers would respond by hiking inputs prices. We implore them to be ethical,” Dr Makombe said.
Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust(ZIWFAT) president, Mrs Depinah Nkomo applauded Government for announcing the prices which she said would motive many farmers to produce during the present season.
“We thank Government for attending to farmers’ concerns. We hope the prices will also be constantly reviewed so that farming remains viable,” she said.
Zimbabwe National Farmers Union vice president Mr Edward Dune said the producer price would go a long way in guiding farmers in terms of choice of enterprises to undertake.
“We acknowledge with respect that the pre-planting prices could have been more viable if maize was around $40 000 per tonne while soya beans could get to $60 000. Farmers also need the guarantee of early payments to avoid side marketing,” he said.