Government’s pre-planting producer prices and the various free input schemes have heightened prospects for a better summer cropping season, which will ensure the country’s food security.
Recently the Government set the pre-planting producer prices for strategic commodities for the summer season of 2022/ 2023 in US dollars with maize set at US$335 per tonne in a new pricing model, which it says is consistent with achieving food security and macro-economic stability.
Other commodities, soya beans and sunflower will fetch US$597,59 and US$687,23 respectively.
In terms of input schemes, Government distributes seed and other agricultural services through programmes such as Pfumvudza/Intwasa conservation scheme, Presidential Input Scheme, National Enhanced Crop Productivity Scheme (known better as Command Agriculture), more irrigation, the Livestock Growth Plan and the farm mechanisation programme, which all contribute to better harvests.
Farmer’s representative organisation, the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU), said support by the Government and the pre-planting prices is a move in the right direction as this would allow farmers to increase hectares under cereal crops.
“Most farmers are already in the midst of the planting season and may have missed the hectares they would have wanted to.
“However, if anything, we are encouraging those farmers who are still planting to increase their hectares as the new prices will improve their returns,” Dr Shadreck Makombe, the ZCFU president said in an interview.
He noted that the prices are well up higher than the global prices even on import parity.
“As a result, farmers are very much likely to break even and help them in making critical decisions,” he said.
Government has set projections of three million tonnes of maize for the 2022/23 season from a combined hectarage of 1 940 969 being planted.
This comes as the Second Republic has made food and nutrition security a top priority and is working towards attaining an US$8, 2 billion agriculture industry by 2023, underpinned by the country’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) – the key driver towards the Vision 2030 objective of making Zimbabwe a prosperous and empowered upper-middle income society.
Government programmes such as Pfumvudza/Intwasa, the National Enhanced Agriculture Productivity Scheme (NEAPS), private sector and Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) are set to enhance maize production.
The producer price for cotton D grade was set at US$0,40/kg, cotton C grade at US$0,41/kg, cotton B grade at US$0,43/kg and cotton A grade at US$0,46/kg.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) director Mr Paul Zakaria recently indicated that the new producer prices will go a long way in helping farmers to make critical decisions such as increasing hectrage.
“Had the pre-planting producer prices come prior to planting, farmers would have made decisions on which crops should have more hectrage,” he said.
The Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme was extended to 3,5 million households for the 2022/23 summer cropping season and the Government has already spent over $20 billion towards the goal.
Economist, Clemence Machadu said the prices set by authorities are viable and a win-win for agricultural stakeholders, while fostering competitiveness in food prices to the general populace.
“Also, setting them in hard currency improves farmers’ confidence and hectrage commitment,” he said.