CONTRACT FARMING JOINT PLAN UNVEILED
Target 100 000ha of maize, soya beans Call for no limits on fertiliser imports
THE private sector has come up with a joint contract farming operation plan for 2016/17 targeting 100 000 hectares of soya beans and maize as well as 45 000 ha of winter wheat. Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairman Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said yesterday the joint plan, in partnership with the Oilseeds Traders’ Association of Zimbabwe, was anchored on the need to scale-up agro processing in the country. He said this would be achieved through enhancing viability of the entire grain value chain as pronounced in the 10-point plan enunciated by President Mugabe last year in August.
“Members of the GMAZ and the Oilseeds Traders Association of Zimbabwe hereby commit to the following crop farming plan for the period up to July 31, 2017:
“Contract farming of soya beans and maize in all traditional farming districts across the country of 100 000 ha for the summer farming season of 2016/17; contract farming of wheat in all traditional farming districts across the country of 45 000ha for the winter season,” he said.
To achieve the above targets, Mr Musarara said, they were requesting the Government interventions among them the need to import fertilisers, especially Ammonium Nitrate and Urea.
“Local fertiliser manufacturing companies have seemingly no capacity to provide for this season as their current carrying stock stands at 10 000 metric tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate against an immediate demand of 150 000 metric tonnes.
“Sadly, Sable Chemicals remains mothballed and there is no production. We appeal that fertiliser importing companies be allowed to import without limitation in order to provide for both summer and local winter farming,” he said.
Mr Musarara said Zim-Asset, the country’s five year blueprint, speaks about an ultimate stoppage of grain imports, which would
be eventually replaced by increased local grain production.
He noted that it was key that the process starts now by making it compulsory for importers of wheat and maize to commit at least 30 percent of their requirements to local contractors in order to support local production.
“In order to enhance the bankability of contract farming and allow parties to it to ascertain the viability of the project before commencement, we propose that the contractor and farmer must be allowed to compute and agree on preplanting prices that will not be affected by any future control and regulation,” Mr Musarara said.
He also said they were appealing to the Government to come up with concessionary low rates of water and electricity charges.
“In order to attract significant capital into contract farming, we propose that consideration be made in respect of tax incentives such as tax holidays, which mirror those provided under the Export Processing Zone,” said Mr Musarara.
He said millers and oilseed traders were keen to increase capacity utilisation of grain milling in Zimbabwe to sustainable economic levels and protect the local grain value chain from cheap imports. — @okazunga
Mr Tafadzwa Musarara