Zimbabwean government has announced that it has reviewed the producer price of grain, and is introducing an incentive to state grain producers who can deliver early. This is a bid to boost farmer viability, and aligns with the Southern African country’s strategic grain reserve (SGR) requirements.
Each country’s strategic grain reserve is a government stockpile of grains that is set aside for the purposes of future emergency use, both domestically and for exporting.
The 2022/23 grains marketing season began on 1 April 2022, with a SGR of 453 717 metric tonnes of maize carried over from the previous season. Due to unpredictable rainfall, Zimbabwe’s maize crop fell to 1.8 million tonnes in the 2021/22 season from 2.7 million tonnes in the 2020/2021 season. This year’s maize output is 40 000 tonnes short of the 2.2 million-tonne national demand.
Acting information minister Jenfan Muswere said during a post-cabinet media conference earlier this week that the new government maize producer price is now set at ZWD $75 000 (USD $234 ) per metric ton.
“The early delivery incentive, which will be extended to other crops such as traditional grains, sunflower and soybean, is payable to 31 July 2022, and applies to all deliveries made since the commencement of the marketing season,” the acting information minister said.
As an incentive for farmers to submit their grain to Zimbabwe’s single grain procurer, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), the government announced last month that maize producers will be paid 30% of the amount due on grain supplied in US dollars, and 70% in domestic Zimbabwe dollars.
Government takes action
Earlier this month, the Zimbabwean government announced that it would deploy security forces to confiscate maize stocks from producers as deliveries made to the GMB were low. According to TimesLive, approximately 30 000 metric tonnes had already been harvested as the harvest kicked off from 1 April 2022, but deliveries made to the sole government purchaser stood at 5 000 metric tonnes.
“You are therefore required to operationalise the provisions of S.I 145/19 to prevent and avert the side marketing of grain with immediate effect,” said lands and agriculture permanent secretary John Basera.
“This includes but is not limited to conducting grain-busting operations at various non-GMB depots, as well as the setting up of permit inspections at various points such as roadblocks. You are also encouraged to ride on our partnerships with members of the Joint Operation Command in the execution of this important task.”
However, farmers are generally reluctant to sell their grain to the GMB, as they believe prices are set too low and payments are often delayed.
Zimbabwe is currently considered a food insecure country, and announced that the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) would be importing approximately 400 000 metric tonnes of maize from Malawi and Zambia. This is scheduled for delivery by the end of June 2022.