THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has increased the maize producer price to $378,68 per metric tonne up from last season’s $295 in a bid to persuade reluctant maize farmers to deliver the crop to the parastatal’s depots across the country.
REPORT BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
The new price for the 2013/14 marketing season represents a 28% increase although the GMB has been paying an interim price of $310 per metric tonne.
The new increase comes at a time when maize farmers have been reluctant to sell their grain to the GMB, preferring private millers who offered competitive prices.
The GMB said the price increase followed a recent announcement to that effect by the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.
“The increase comes amid calls by farmer organisations and individuals for the government to incentivise maize farmers to continue producing the staple crop,” said the GMB’s corporate communications department.
Following the new price announcement, the board said it was expecting an upsurge in maize deliveries to its 84 depots.
The GMB’s marketing season runs from April 1 to March 31.
Zimbabwe has experienced a serious maize deficit, forcing it to import grain. In April this year President Robert Mugabe said the country was going to import 150 000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia.
The announcement followed reports that the country could face food shortages after erratic rains this season.
In April, Finance minister Tendai Biti said the government had engaged private millers to import grain to complement efforts to ensure food security in the country.
In his state of the economy report, Biti said millers made a commitment to import 150 000 tonnes of maize.
“Given the constrained fiscal space, the involvement of the private sector in importation of grain is unavoidable. Hence, it is paramount that government continues to encourage the current ongoing private sector initiatives in the importation of grain,” Biti said.