By Theophilus Chuma
WHEAT Farmers have welcomed the upward review of the producer price for the winter crop which is part of government efforts to ensure farmers get value for their hard work.
A huge incentive for wheat production, the upward review of the producer price has been welcomed by farmers unions as a critical pedestal to scale up production for the strategic crop.
“We definitely welcome this new price and this obviously encourages more farmers and improve hectarage. What we encourage the authorities is now to look at the other factors that may erode this viable price and safeguard this price so as to protect the farmer.”
With a record harvest expected to hit 300 000 metric tonnes this season, the country has managed to significantly narrow its import deficit.
Stakeholders within the value chain are also appreciative of the latest development saying it will consolidate the prevailing economic stability.
“We are obviously happy about the new price models. The good thing is that government has committed to continue with the current subsidy which means there will not be any increases in the price of bread. Otherwise the new price on wheat is very viable and welcome,” said Tafadzwa Musarara, Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe Chairperson.
While the producer price for wheat will bring huge relief to farmers, the call now is to ensure that other macro-economic fundamentals such as the exchange rate are effectively addressed.
“The open market is obviously one of the greatest let down each time the farmers receive a raise on producer prices. So in order to ensure that the farmers benefit from such a noble position, authorities should now move to safeguard against the rising costs that will be influenced by the open market,” said Edward Dune, Zimbabwe National Farmers Union Chief Executive Officer.
The government this Tuesday announced the new producer price for utility wheat now pegged at 55, 517, 69 Zimbabwe dollars per tonne and 66, 621, 71 Zimbabwe dollars for premium wheat.