The government has come up with incentives to encourage farmers to grow maize and traditional
Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka said this
during a media briefing in Harare on Tuesday while announcing the planting prices for strategic
commodities for the 2023/24 season.
He said the government will also allow private players to import grain as part of preparations to
cushion the country from the predicted El Nino effects as well as meet the target of producing over 1
million tonnes of maize this coming planting season.
As part of the incentives for farmers, Dr Masuka said the planting planning and marketing prices
stand to be higher, as the government, in its determination to ensure the nation attained food
security, is using a cost plus pricing mechanism when paying farmers.
He said the government is using a 15 percent return and a yield of 5.55 tonnes per hectare for maize.
“And using this, we arrive at US$335.03 per tonne for maize and for the determination of sunflower,
we use soya bean as the base crop,” he said.
Unlike the prevailing situation where soya bean is regarded as a feed crop, the government treats it
as predominantly an oil seed, as it has an 18 percent oil content, while sunflower boasts of over 30
percent oil content, and is suited to the small-holder sector dry areas.
“So it really fits in the rural transformation model that Government is propagating, and using this
arrangement, the sunflower prize is US$654.34 per metric tonne. So the incentive arrangements that
we have are as follows; first, for the 2023/24 season, the incentive planning prize for maize of
US$335.03 per metric tonne should be sufficient in motivating to allow us to secure the one million
metric tonnes-plus of maize into the grain Marketing Board (GMB),” he said.
Dr Masuka said the second aspect was granting of permission for private players to import maize
with immediate effect, in view of the predicted El Nino, to build national stocks.
He said thirdly, households will continue to import mealie meal while the two Ministries of
Agriculture and Industry will be working out the detailed modalities with the Ministry of Finance and
Investment Promotion, to see what quantities per household that means, so that commercial
consignments are excluded from the arrangement.
The 2023/24 season incentive planning price for traditional grains is US$335.03, which Dr Masuka
said is the same as maize, and he urged all small-holder farmers to go for such crops, also in light of
the predicted lower than normal season.
The sunflower incentive planning planting price has been pegged at US$654.37 per tonne, while the
importation of soya bean by private players has also been granted with immediate effect.
Dr Masuka said the last incentive was to ensure that the private sector provides regular returns on
imports, stocks and local purchases of strategic commodities so that both the Ministry of Lands,
Agriculture, fisheries, Water and Rural Development and that of Finance and Investment Promotion
have a clearer real time statistics of national food availability, with a Statutory Instrument (SI) for
this in the pipeline.
He said of the four farmer categories, those with their own resources are recognized as contractors
in their own right, whilst those that are contracted by the private sector with 40 percent of what the
raw material users utilised in a year should be secured through contract financing.
“So if you a miller, if you are a bread producer, you must not think that the GMB is your land, you
must secure 40 percent of your annual raw material requirement from contracting farmers out there
and the private sector has come in very strongly to assist government and we thank them for that,”
On the issue of the Government Guarantee Schemes, formally Command Agriculture, but now called
National Enhanced Agricultural Productivity Scheme, Dr Masuka said the government has put in
place unique and peculiar marketing arrangements to these various contracting schemes as the
country moves into a structured liberalisation of marketing systems to ensure that it crowds in the