Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Govt, private sector lacks financial resources

Govt, private sector lacks financial resources

By Diana Chisvo, Staff Writer
Sunday, 23 October 2011 05:18

HARARE – The government and private sector lack the required financial 
resources to bankroll this year’s agriculture planting season.

The Commercial Farmers’ Union, (CFU) said the upcoming agricultural season 
was the worst since 2000, in terms of preparedness.

Charles Taffs, CFU president said while the sector currently needed $300 
million to push product to 30 percent of peak production, government and the 
private sector lacked the much required financial resources.

“The last time the country was able to feed itself was in 2000 when we 
produced 2 million tonnes of maize. The figures have dropped significantly 
and this year we are estimating to produce 900 000 tonnes and 781000 tonnes 
next season.

“As you can see, the figures keep dropping because the situation keeps 
getting worse,” Taffs said.

The CFU president said local farmers were under threat from regional imports 
which were selling at 30 percent less than the local maize after factoring 
in transport and import tariffs.

Foreign maize producers use cheap production techniques which include 
genetically modified technology, while Zimbabwe maintains its ban on 
genetically modified organisms.

“The current pricing policy where the maize floor prices of $285 per tonne 
remain above regional parity prices of  $220 per tonne is resulting in grain 
stocks accumulating without any outflows, the Grain Marketing Board’s prices 
are even higher than of other local producers,” said Taffs.

Local farmers are also having trouble getting funding for the coming season 
because 83 percent of the agrarian loans and advances from 2010 are yet to 
be serviced, as a result of a failure by the country’s major buyer, GMB, to 
pay its suppliers.

According to Taffs, the country is likely to experience early rains and will 
not be ideal for late farmers who start their farming in late November as 
the rains would not be available in January and February.

Zimbabwe’s meteorological department confirmed the forecasts, saying the 
country was expected to have normal rains during the first half of the 
season with rain becoming scarce in the second half.

The department said there would be cloud seeding in some areas that receive 
little rains.

Region One which comprises of Harare, Matabeleland North and the North 
Eastern parts of Manicaland is expected to receive normal rains but there is 
no guarantee that there would be good rains.

This comes after seed producers announced that they have by far exceeded 
local demand, prompting government to lift a ban on seed exports.

The country’s agricultural sector has succumbed to a decade long economic 
stagnation and lack of funding.


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