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– – Chronicle

THE Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) has expressed gratitude over the “fair” producer price for grain including that of traditional grains, which is above that of maize.

The Government recently gazetted the producer prices of grain for this season with the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), which is buying maize at ZWL$32 000 per tonne, traditional grains at ZWL$38 000 with soya bean fetching ZWL$48 000.

Speaking by telephone yesterday, ZFU executive director Mr Paul Zakariya said as farmers they were excited by the good season.

“First of all, it’s a season that we have seen farmers being paid a fair price for their produce and the difference between the maize and the small grains is in the handling of the grains, even the drying and the packaging,”

he said.

“There is more work with small grains than there is with maize, and also for one to have a full tonne of small grain you can imagine the volume that you need to put in there as compared to the maize.

“So, that justifies the difference and encourages our farmers to produce small grains because they are more nutritious and they also encourage healthy eating.

“It’s a very good season for us and the producer prices for the grain are very fair,”

said Mr Zakariya.

Following the good rains that the country received in the previous season, Zimbabwe has achieved a bumper harvest.

According to the recent Second Round Crop and livestock Assessment Report for 2020/2021 season, the estimated maize production stands at 2 717 171 tonnes, which is 199 percent of the 907 528 tonnes produced in the 2019/2020 season.

Traditional grains production for the 2020/2021 season is estimated at 347 968 tonnes, which is 128 percent more compared to 152 515 tonnes in the 2019/2020 season. The report also forecasts soya bean production at an estimated 71 290 tonnes compared to 47 088 tonnes in the 2019/2020, reflecting a 51 percent increase.

Mr Zakariya said there was a need by the Government to benchmark the producer price of soya bean with that being paid to farmers elsewhere outside the country.

“There is need to also look at paying (soya bean farmers) in line with what is paid farmers elsewhere (outside our borders).

“It might look like it’s a figure that is quite high compared to the grains but the grains and soya bean, there are different commodities,”

he said.

“So, if you want to benchmark your producer price of soya bean, we have to look at what is happening elsewhere in the region.”

Meanwhile, GMB said it remains the sole seller of grain to millers, stock feed manufacturers and other users of grain.

“The GMB advises farmers that all grain must be delivered to GMB and/or registered contractors. Trading in maize and soya beans to other players other than GMB and /or registered contractors remains prohibited,”

it said.

“Those in need of such can approach GMB for their grain requirements.”

— @okazunga.

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