Farmers welcome new wheat producer price
Harare (New Ziana) – Farmers on Wednesday said the reviewed producer price of wheat will enable farmers to go back to production next season.
The producer prices for wheat were raised to ZW$55 517.69 a tonne for ordinary grade and ZW$66 621.22 for the premium grade.
Announcing the new prices after the weekly Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the upward review of the producer prices was necessitated by changes in input prices which in turn resulted in higher production costs to the farmer.
“Farmers expect viability in their operations, and are grappling with cost increases in Labour (51 percent); fertilizers, both Compound D and Ammonium Nitrate (27 percent); and tractor and equipment (144 percent). The input increases have a net effect of a 32 percent increase on the total variable cost per hectare,” she said.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union executive director Paul Zakariya told New Ziana that viability of the prices would be determined by the parallel foreign currency market.
“The producer price is quite viable at the moment because prices of inputs and everything else on the open market are indexed to the parallel foreign currency market rate.
“So value and viability of these producer prices depends largely on what happens on the open market,” he said.
Zakariya said stability in the price of inputs was needed.
“So today, that price is very viable; but we need to monitor the space as far as input price parity is concerned so that value is preserved for the better of the farmer. In the next few weeks, the price will not be viable if prices continue rising,” he said.
The country forecasts wheat harvests of over 300 000 tonnes in the next two months.
Over 66 000 hectares were put to wheat this year, the third highest hectarage since Independence.
Previously, wheat harvesting was hit by a shortage of combine harvesters.
But Zakariya said despite the larger planted area, there has been better planning.
“The major concern for farmers is that of fuel. Most of the fuel is sold in United States dollars and yet farmers are supposed to be paid in local currency.