Wheat farm­ers de­mand 20 per­cent payment in forex

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Oliver Kazunga

THE Zim­babwe Wheat Board is lob­by­ing Govern­ment to pay 20 per­cent for­eign cur­rency on de­liv­er­ies made to the Grain Mar­ket­ing Board so that farm­ers are able to buy in­puts.

Cit­ing the pre­vail­ing fi­nan­cial dis­tor­tions in the mar­ket, wheat farm­ers have ex­pressed con­cern over the price of key in­puts that were pegged in for­eign cur­rency. In an in­ter­view yes­ter­day, Zim­babwe Wheat Board chair­per­son Mr Give­more Me­soemvura said farm­ers were ask­ing for part payment in for­eign cur­rency of their pro­duce de­liv­ered to GMB.

“We held a wheat con­fer­ence in Harare last week. At the con­fer­ence, the wheat farm­ers re­vealed that they no longer af­ford to buy in­puts us­ing lo­cal cur­rency given the pre­vail­ing sit­u­a­tion in the mar­ket,” he said.

“So, they re­quested if they can re­ceive 20 per­cent of the payment in forex so that they are able to pro­cure in­puts for the next sea­son.

“As the wheat board, we saw it rea­son­able to lobby Govern­ment on their be­half to have the farm­ers re­ceive 20 per­cent of the payment in forex.”

Mr Me­soemvura said GMB was pay­ing farm­ers $500 per tonne for wheat de­liv­er­ies. Zim­babwe needs 450 000 tonnes of wheat per year and at its peak in 2001 pro­duc­tion stood at 325 000 tonnes.

The crop’s first steep de­cline oc­curred in 2002 when out­put halved to 150 000 tonnes. Last year, the coun­try’s win­ter wheat pro­duc­tion was pro­jected to reach over 20 000 tonnes from about 10 000 tonnes in 2016. As a re­sult of the wheat short­age, the coun­try is spend­ing mil­lions im­port­ing the com­mod­ity to cover the deficit. Re­cently, the Grain Millers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Zim­babwe an­nounced that it had im­ported 30 000 tonnes of wheat while about 200 000 tonnes were stuck at Beira, Mozam­bique due to lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenges to bring the com­mod­ity into the coun­try. — @okazunga

Wheat field

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