Farmers cry foul over potato production costs

POTATO farmers yesterday cried foul over the high prices of potato seed and shortage of high-producing varieties on the local market.

by VENERANDA LANGA

Potato Growers’ Association chairperson Jacs Chiduku told members of the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Indigenisation that potato production was capital-intensive, adding it costs $12 000 just to grow one hectare of potatoes.

Chiduku said lack of financial support to the sector had pushed most farmers out of potato production.

“Those farmers still growing potatoes only do half a hectare or a quarter of a hectare because it is a difficult business which also requires crop rotation. Potatoes can only be grown once every three years on the same piece of land,” he said.

Seed Potato Corporation general manager Musengo Hlongwane said local food producers preferred high-quality but expensive potato varieties only available in South Africa and Europe.

“Potato seed is difficult to grow because it requires very strict conditions in places such as Nyanga,” Hlongwane said.

Chairperson of the Potato Council, Ronald Museka, said potatoes from South Africa had flooded the local market because their selling price was half of what is produced locally.
Museka urged government to invest in production of seed and charge a levy on potato imports to protect local farmers.

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2 Comments

  1. minister Made is asleep. how can the whole country fail to have variety of potato seeds?Zimbabwe government always reacts late when it comes to farming.

  2. Comment…well potatoes must be duty free and prices will fall. zimbabwean farmers and business abuse the gvt business privillege of local protection. look at fuel. unjustified price increases everywhere. unfortunately interested parties are the ones in control, they create artificial shortages and cry out to gvt to milk dry the consumer and guest who decides ; the same business person who has caused the shortage. what a corrupt nation?

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