The Sunday Mail
More than 188 000 tonnes of wheat have been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), which represents a significant increase from 149 874 tonnes that had been delivered during the same period last year.
GMB chief executive officer Mr Rockie Mutenha told The Sunday Mail that they were receiving 5 000 tonnes of the cereal per day.
Some farmers are still harvesting their crop.
“The Grain Marketing Board is receiving an average 5 000 tonnes per day. As at November 18, 2021, the GMB had received 188 301 tonnes compared to 149 874 tonnes during the same period last year,” he said.
“Some farmers are still harvesting their wheat and we expect them to continue to deliver to GMB.
‘‘The country has few combine harvesters which are shared by farmers and this naturally slows down harvesting.”
Agricultural, Technical and Extension Services (Agritex) acting director Mr Stancilae Tapererwa said the country presently has around 2 000 farmers growing the cereal.
Wheat farmers, he added, were being supported by the Presidential Inputs Scheme, CBZ, Agribank, other private banks and private companies.
“Wheat is supported by three programmes, namely private banks, CBZ and Agribank; and private companies; and the Presidential Inputs Scheme. Currently, the number of wheat farmers in the country is around 2 000,” he said.
The Government plans to put more than 85 000 hectares under wheat during next year’s winter cropping season.
However, some farmers believe this year’s producer prices for the crop are relatively lower than last year.
“The price of wheat of $55 000 per tonne is probably the worst price that we have been paid since the inception of the land reform. It translates to US$307 and if the unavoidable parallel market rate continues on the rise, the value might be reduced to US$289.
“This is a very low price of wheat as compared to last year’s price . . . This price is even lower than what should be paid for summer maize,” said the farmers.
The farmers said what had made the situation worse was the fact that combine harvesters are now being hired at the prevailing black market rates, while ZINWA has also increased water charges.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) executive director Mr Paul Zakariya said there was need to stabilise the exchange rate for farmers to realise meaningful profits.
“A lot has happened to our currency since the wheat producer price was announced. Suppliers of inputs and other commodities are indexing their prices to the USD at the parallel market rate.
“This has eroded value for the farmers, rendering the producer price unviable. The exchange rate needs to be contained so that our markets make sense,” he said.
Mr Zakariya said the country had realised a record wheat output and this would be the trend going forward.
“With good market performance and forward planning, a record crop is expected in the next winter season.
“Zimbabwe is set to be wheat self-sufficient going forward. Strategies that have been put in place which bring together all key stakeholders can only bring a positive result. Import substitution is the buzzword. We should never import what we can produce locally,” he added.