The Zimbabwe National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has welcomed the US$90 incentive for early grain deliveries recently announced by the Government but said it falls short of their expectation of over US$300 per tonne.
On Tuesday, Cabinet resolved that farmers who deliver maize to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) before the end of July will get an incentive of US$90 per every tonne delivered.
The US dollar incentive is in addition to the ZWL$75 000 per tonne producer price announced several weeks ago.
The ZWL$75 000 is equivalent to about US$166 using the parallel market exchange rate which the farmers use to buy their inputs such as fertilisers, pesticides and seeds.
Speaking to Business Times, the Zimbabwe National Farmers Union chairman Stewart Mubonderi, said:
While this is a welcome development, we still feel that the government has to do more. The reason being that when we were growing the crops almost every input was in US$ up until harvesting.
I would like to believe that between US$300/MT and US$400/MT would be the best price.
If they say US$300 then the other one can be in ZWL$ and it will be okay with our farmers because that would be 80%.
Mubonderi said the Government is buying maize from other countries for about US$350 per tonne, yet the local farmer is getting US$150 from GMB. He said:
Why not give US$300 to the farmer or US$280 to the farmer? Then the farmer is motivated to grow, we save foreign currency that way, and all the crop is brought into the country and is handed over to the GMB.
The GMB is notorious for making late payments to farmers and their proceeds would have been eroded by inflation by the time the cash lands in their bank accounts.