Grain producers want forex payment

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Harare, April 27, 2022 (New Ziana) FARMERS’ organisations said on
Wednesday the Government should consider paying a fraction of the new grain prices in foreign currency to ensure farmers are hedged from inflation.

The government on Tuesday set new prices for maize and traditional grains at ZWL$ 75 000 per metric tonne, up from ZWL$58 000 and ZWL$70 000 respectively.

Soya bean will now be sold at ZWL$171 495/mt from ZWL$125 530.17 while sunflower flour will go for ZW$205 794.52/mt up from ZWL150 686.20/MT.

However, farmers’ representatives told New Ziana that the new prices would be eroded by inflation before they procure inputs for the next cropping season.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president, Mayiwepi Jiti, said while the upward review of producer prices was commendable, a fraction should be in United States Dollars and another in local currency.

“The amount is okay, but the challenge is when we want to go and buy. Everything is priced using the parallel market rate of the United States dollar. If you buy in ZWL, they charge you using the black market rate.

“The best thing is to pay a certain fraction in United States dollars
and the rest in local currency like what they are doing for tobacco where they are paying 75 percent in USD and 25 percent in Zimbabwean dollars,” she said.

Past president of the organisation, Wonder Chabikwa, said paying the whole amount in local currency would prevent farmers from breaking even and returning to the field the next season.

“We would have benefited if only the exchange rate of the local currency
was stable against the United States dollar,” he said.

The Government said the new grain producer prices were intended to maintain farmer viability and profitability.

Addressing a post-Cabinet briefing Tuesday, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said: “A good price that promotes sustainable growth of a particular value chain is that which allows the farmer to realize at least a 15 per cent profit margin.”

New Ziana

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