By Tafanana Kwedu
Wheat producers have welcomed the upward review of wheat producer price by Grain Marketing Board (GMB) saying the move will allow farmers to go back to the fields next farming season.
On Thursday, GMB announced that with immediate effect utility or ordinary wheat average price will be $43 778, 84 per tonne, while grade A wheat will be paid a premium price of 20 percent above the utility grade to $52 534, 61.
Wheat prices had been pegged at $11 786, 44 per tonne while grade A wheat was pegged at $14 143, 73 per tonne.
Wheat growers who spoke to Harare Post said viability of wheat production was critical in increasing production.
“We welcome the move by GMB to increase the producer price of wheat although as famers we always expect more. With the new price, certainly we will be able to make profits and start preparations for the next season.
“We normally incur huge costs during production such as labor, electricity or diesel, spares and others. The new price will enable us to pay such overheads,” said Abigail Moto, a Goromonzi Farmer.
Another farmer from Hurungwe, Josam Munetsi said the new producer price boosted the farmers’ morale.
“Generally we are happy with the new price and we appreciate efforts being made by Government and other stakeholders to increase wheat production in the country,” said Munetsi
Commenting on the same issue, Charity Mapako a farmer from Beatrice said viable price will lead to increased production.
“Certainly with these prices, production will increase and in turn cut on wheat imports, saving foreign currency for other uses,”Mapako said.
Wheat is one of the country’s strategic crops as it is a major raw material in the production of flour and other cereal food stuffs.
With an expected near‑average output of the winter wheat crops to be harvested in October and November, the 2020 aggregate cereal production is forecast at 1.2 million tonnes in 2020, 15 percent below the five‑year average but above the low level of 2019, when production was severely affected by extreme weather events, including drought and Cyclone Idai.
Over the years, wheat production has decreased, with figures showing that in 2017 farmers produced 186 200 tonnes which dropped to 160 600 in 2018 before falling to 100 000 tonnes last year.
However, in 2020 the country is targeting 415 000 tonnes of wheat from over 42 000 hectares under the crop.