Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Winter wheat producer prices to be announced soon

Winter wheat producer prices to be announced soon

May 29, 2011 2:46 PM | By VLADIMIR MZACA

Winter wheat producer prices should be announced well ahead of the planting 
season and attract farmers to plant the crop, Matabeleland South Agritex 
provincial officer Innocent Nyathi has said.

Nyathi said farmers needed to be persuaded to plant wheat as in previous 
years the crop had become expensive to produce because government offered 
low producer prices.

This follows revelations that some farmers in Matabeleland had pulled out of 
winter wheat farming, citing poor yield, Grain Marketing Board (GMB) inputs, 
water and power cut challenges.

The target hectares of wheat to be planted in Matabeleland South were pegged 
at 2032 hectares, while 1205ha was set for Matabeleland North.

He said only 19% of farmers in his province had started planting and had 
completed planting on 281ha of land.

“Producer prices should be announced before the season so as to attract 
farmers’ participation in the programme. Farmers’ reluctance to plant the 
crop stems from the fear that their efforts, which are characterised by many 
challenges, such as power and water cuts, would not be properly rewarded. 
They believe that producer prices would be low,” said Nyathi.

He said farmers’ reluctance was heightened by the GMB’s tendency to pay them 
late for their produce.

“It has become hard for us to persuade farmers to partake in the planting 
programme as over the years they have said they feel short-changed as the 
GMB delayed in paying for wheat delivered,” said Nyathi.

The government has set this year’s winter wheat target at between 40000 to 
45000 hectares. However, obstacles such as power cuts and unavailability of 
farming implements pose a threat to the target.

Analysts contend that a low hectarage of wheat would mean that government 
would have to commit more funds for importing the grain.


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