The Sunday Mail
Sunday Mail Reporters
Most farmers in Mashonaland Central have begun harvesting the early maize crop planted under irrigation at the start of the 2019/2020 summer cropping season.
However, Zimbabwe National Farmers’ Union chief executive officer Mr Edward Dune said while some farmers were busy harvesting crops, the food security situation in the southern parts of the country, particularly in Matabeleland, was dire.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Mr Dune said: “Most farmers who used irrigation to plant their maize are now harvesting.
“The yields promise to be high in the northern half of the country (parts of Mashonaland Central), but the southern districts are a real disaster to an extent that even farmers will need food handouts.
“(For those farmers now harvesting), inflated labour costs were a worrying issue, as well as high labour mobility.
“Some farmers were forced by the environment to introduce high incentives to retain labour.”
Government recently increased the producer price of maize to $6 958 per tonne from $1 400, while the price of traditional grains such as millet, rapoko and sorghum is now pegged at $7 260 per tonne, up from $6 958.
The new producer prices are envisaged to encourage deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), which would help replenish the country’s Strategic Grain Reserve.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union (ZCFU) president Mr Shadreck Makombe said although farmers were “happy” with the new producer prices, they, however, expected a higher figure.