Farmers are now being paid the new producer price of maize of $21 000 a tonne and for traditional grains of $21 913 a tonne as directed by Cabinet.

In a statement to the GMB and Silo Food Industries, Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Secretary Dr John Basera said the new prices were with effect from July 21, 2020.

“On July 21 2020, Cabinet approved reviewing of floor producer prices for maize and traditional grains from $12 329 per tonne and $12 865 per tonne to $16 153 and $16 856 per tonne respectively for the 2020/21 marketing season.

“Cabinet further approved an incentive of 30 percent on top of the reviewed producer prices. The new prices are as follows; maize $21 000 and traditional grains $21 913 per tonne,” read the letter.

Farmers welcomed the move and urged authorities to constantly adjust the prices in line with the current exchange rate as well as the trends on the international markets to preserve value for the producer and to sustain production. Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Shadreck Makombe said it was encouraging and a positive move, which would help farmers buy inputs for the next season.

“This is a move in the right direction. At least farmers’ voices have been heard. Our main worry is that some retailers may start to hike inputs prices.

“Government should regulate prices of inputs. We are not calling for price controls but at least there should be some form of subsidy as is the case in other countries,” he said.

Mr Makombe urged farmers to buy inputs early while prices are still affordable rather than doing so at the last minute.

Zimbabwe National Farmers Union vice president, Mr Edward Dune said while the move taken by Government was prudent the price was way below the import parity.

“This is a good move but we feel it is still low. If prices remain low, farmers will be forced to sell their grain on the parallel market,” he said.

Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmer Association Trust president, Mrs Depinah Nkomo applauded Government for timeously reviewing the producer price but expressed the same sentiments that input manufacturers should not hike prices.

“Whenever producer prices increase manufacturers start increasing prices for inputs. This is a bad practice and Government should help us on that issue,” he said.

Meanwhile GMB has bought 97 000 tonnes of maize from farmers.

GMB chief executive Mr Rockie Mutenha said farmers had continued to deliver their grain to the GMB depots and collection points.

“GMB has received 97 000 tonnes of maize, 3 240 tonnes of sorghum and 142 tonnes of millet from farmers. We urge farmers to continue delivering their grain to reduce post-harvest losses. We are paying farmers within 48 to 72 hours after deliveries,” he said.