Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, has ruled out paying farmers in United States dollars (USD) for maize deliveries, but said there were exceptions for those growing export-oriented crops.
There are wider calls for dollarisation as the local currency keeps tumbling, but the government has maintained that dollarisation is not good for the economy.
In an address to Parliament on Wednesday, Ncube said there had been no change in policy, and farmers would be paid in Zimbabwe dollars. He said:
We are not there yet. We are not ready for that, we have our own domestic currency and we want to set all these agriculture sector prices in domestic currency and also to promote the use of our own currency.
However, there are farmers who are receiving payments in US dollars because they are producing crops which are export-oriented such as tobacco, cotton — even cotton is in part US dollar, that is understandable because those crops earn foreign currency but not for crops which do not earn foreign currency.
Meanwhile, senators recently urged the government to raise the maize producer price to lure more farmers into growing the crop as Zimbabwe is facing a poor harvest this year.
Ncube said there were plans to deploy extra resources to fund winter wheat production as part of measures to curb soaring bread prices.
He said an estimated 75 000 farmers would benefit from the programme that targets to produce 350 000 metric tonnes of wheat.
Ncube added that the government reduced the strategic reserve levy on domestic fuel price from US$12.7 cents to current levels of US$8.7 cents/litre beginning January 2022 through SI 31 of 2022 in an effort to cushion the general public and businesses against increases in the price of fuel.
He added that the Government was looking into additional policy measures to address the situation.
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