Wheat farmers seek price review

Staff Reporter

Wheat farmers have pleaded with the Government to review wheat producer price from ZW$52 534, 61 to ZW$66 000 per Metric Tonne (MT) for premium wheat and from ZW$43 778, 84 to ZW$55 000 per MT for standard wheat.

A contact within the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) told this publication that the review was necessitated by the movement in the parallel market exchange rate and general price increases which are negatively affecting farmers’ viability.

“Wheat prices were last reviewed in September 2020 and since then we have experienced a surge in inputs and labour costs. Although the auction exchange rate has been stable, unit prices are mimicking the parallel market exchange rate which has moved from ZW$ 120 to about ZW$ 160 per US$ 1 since the last wheat price review.

A contact within the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement has indicated that the Ministry is currently working on the raised issue.

“The Ministry is trying hard to address the concerns of wheat farmers and is now working on a submission pertaining to the proposed wheat producer price. I hope the issue will be finalised soon,” said the contact.

Meanwhile, the area planted under winter wheat this season stands at 66 436 hectares, with an expected output of 220 000 MT. A contact within the Department of Agriculture and Technical Extension Services revealed that the Department was appealing for funding for the wheat crop assessment to ascertain the actual yield.

“The figures are based on submissions by extension officers but are not verified as in the normal crop assessment for maize. The wheat crop assessment has been ignored over the past years yet it is critical for treasury’s preparedness to mobilise funding for farmers,” he said.

The contact revealed that in 2020, there was no crop assessment and some farmers were paid three months after delivery due to lack of funding preparedness by the Treasury.

According to Statutory Instrument (SI) 188 of 2021, wheat was declared a specified crop and it is sold entirely to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) with funding coming from the Treasury.