Agriculture

Agreement finally reached on cotton price

AGREEMENT FINALLY REACHED ON COTTON PRICE
Harare May 14, 2012 (New Ziana) –Ginners and farmers last week finally reached agreement on the producer price for cotton paving way for opening of the marketing season.
The two parties had been deadlocked on the producer price resulting in farmers holding on to their crop.
Prices for this season have been set at between US 0.45 to US0. 50 per kilogram for grade A, grade B US$0.44 to US$0.48, grade C US$0. 40 to US$0.43 and grade D US$0.36 to US$0.39.
Farmers had been demanding a minimum of US 50 cents per kg while buyers were adamant the prices were too high and wanted to pay around US 35 cents.
In a statement on Monday, the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) said the prices had been reached after looking at all the factors affecting the price of the white gold on the market.
“The prices were arrived at after taking into consideration farmers’ and ginners’ production costs, the price of lint on the international market and other market fundamentals,” it said.
AMA said the prices were however still subject to review depending on prices prevailing on the international market.
“Given this position, buyers who are able to pay higher prices that take into accounting these fundamentals are encouraged to pay prices above the indicative price ranges,” it said.
Negotiations for cotton pricing are conducted under the auspices of the Cotton Marketing and Technical Committee which comprises cotton farmers, ginners, the clothing and textile industry and AMA.
Some unregistered buyers were beginning to take advantage of the stalemate over the prices to rip off farmers who were desperate for cash to meet pressing commitments such as school fees and other basic needs.
By last week, most cotton buying points across the country remained closed due to the stalemate but these are due to open following the announcement of the producer prices.
An estimated 450 000 hectares of cotton were planted this season with the bulk of the hectarage having been funded by ginners.
Cotton is Zimbabwe’s second major agricultural export crop after tobacco.
New Ziana

Govt still to announce maize producer price

GVT STILL TO ANNOUNCE MAIZE PRODUCER PRICE
Harare May 12, 2012 (New Ziana) –The Zimbabwe government has not yet announced the producer price for maize with farmers soon to start delivering their crop to the Grain Marketing Board.
Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA) chief executive Rookie Mutenha said farmers should deliver their maize and be paid last year’s price while waiting for the new one to be announced.
“We encourage farmers to deliver their produce at GMB using last year’s price while they wait for government to announce the price for this year,” he said.
“The balance will be paid as soon as the new price is made known,” he added.
Last year the producer price for maize was US$285 per metric tonne.
GMB general manager Albert Mandizha concurred that farmers should deliver their crop despite the new producer price not being announced.
“We urge farmers to bring in their grain to avoid a situation where they sell their produce to individuals who at times dupe them,” he said.
The GMB, which has over the years struggled to pay farmers who would have delivered their grain to its depots, was the sole buyer of maize and wheat until the liberalization of the market in 2009.
The parastatal has however remained one of the buyers who offer high prices although it takes long to make payments.
New Ziana

Zim urged to review subsidized inputs system

GOVT URGED TO REVIEW SUBSIDIES SYSTEM
Harare April 27, 2012 (New Ziana) –The Zimbabwe government should subsidize agricultural inputs at the point of sale to reward genuine farmers as well as encourage production, an expert said on Thursday.
The government provides subsidized agricultural inputs to targeted farmers, a system open to abuse as some unscrupulous individuals sell the commodities on the black market.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union vice president Maideyi Maswi said many productive farmers were not accessing subsidized inputs because of the current system where targeted groups got them from the Grain Marketing Board.
“Some farmers get special tariffs from the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) for growing wheat which they would not even be producing,” she said.
Maswi suggested that subsidies should be provided to farmers who delivered their crops to the Grain Marketing Board as an incentive to produce.
“This also promotes a culture of hardworking,” she added.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) operations manager Theresa Makomva concurred with Maswi but saying government should subsidize manufacturing companies to produce cheap inputs which every farmer could access.
“Subsidies should be at manufacturing level to make sure that every farmer gets inputs at low cost compared to the current system where subsidized inputs are only available at GMB and to selected individuals,” she said.
“The inputs should be already subsidized when they leave the manufacturing firms and sold at affordable prices countrywide and to all.”
Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) chairman and Basil Nyabadza who is also a renowned farmer concurred with Maswi saying subsidizing inputs to those who deliver to the GMB would disadvantage communal farmers who grow crops mainly for consumption.
“What we need to do is to improve on the marketing of agricultural produce especially cereals,” he said.
Tobacco and cotton are doing better mainly due to the orderly marketing of the two crops and that is what we should do with maize and other crops,” he said.
New Ziana

Zim seeks investors for irrigation rehab

GOVERNMENT LOOKING FOR INVESTORS FOR IRRIGATION REHABILITATION

Harare April 20, 2012 (New Ziana) –The Zimbabwe government is inviting potential investors to assist in resuscitating irrigation schemes throughout the country to reduce dependence on rainfall, a senior official said on Friday.
Soon after independence the government established a number of irrigation schemes in previously marginalized communal areas to increase food security but many of these broke down when the country was in the throes of political and economic instability.
Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development deputy Minister Seiso Moyo told New Ziana that lack of funding was hampering the irrigation rehabilitation exercise.
“It is one of our main priorities considering the food situation in the country.
“We are saying investors who are willing to partner the government in this endeavor are welcome to do so,” he said.
Moyo said the government had done most of the assessments to ascertain areas that needed urgent attention.
“Our main thrust will be resuscitating schemes in the southern part of the country mainly areas around Masvingo, Matebeleland North and South,” he said.
He said Treasury had not yet released the US$15 million it allocated in the 2012 budget for the rehabilitation exercise.
Zimbabwe has over the years recorded poor harvests due to erratic rainfall patterns, confirming the importance of moving away from relying on rain-fed agriculture.
New Ziana

ZCFU blasts timing of winter wheat scheme

ZCFU CONCERNED AT TIMING OF US$20 MILLION WHEAT INPUTS SCHEME 
Harare April 11, 2012 (New Ziana)  –The Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) on Wednesday voiced concern at the timing of the US$20 million wheat inputs scheme saying most farmers had lost hope of growing the crop this year.
The Government on Tuesday unveiled a US$20 million input scheme for the 2012 winter wheat cropping season where more than 26 000 hectares of land is targeted with a projection output of at least 75 000 tonnes.
Z CFU president Donald Khumalo told New Ziana that most farmers had opted out of winter wheat cropping citing financial and logistical challenges.
“The facility is welcome to farmers. It is a very positive development,” he said.
“However, should this have happened in February or earlier, it would have been possible to entice more farmers to enter into wheat production,” he said.
Khumalo said over the years, financial constraints and shortages of inputs have affected agricultural activities resulting in the decline in production of wheat and other crops.
He said after launching the facility, the government should now work with speed to ensure farmers had easy access to the inputs.
“We are already in April hence farmers should already have in mind the hectorage they wanted to put under production,” he said.
About 26 280 hectares is projected to be put under wheat this winter season and is estimated to require at least US$20 million.
At least 75 000 tonnes are anticipated this season which would be an increase from 41 000 tonnes produced from 14 100 hectares planted last season.
The agriculture sector which had been the backbone of the country’s economy has failed to attract meaningful support resulting in its failure to increase output as financial institutions have been restrictive on lending.
New Ziana

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