Tar­get 100 000ha of maize, soya beans Call for no lim­its on fer­tiliser im­ports

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Oliver Kazunga

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

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