BY Mishma Chakanyuka
The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) says it is working on a contract farming scheme targeted at increasing the country’s wheat output in order to cut back the country’s reliance on imports for the commodity.
Zimbabwe requires approximately 450 000 metric tonnes of wheat annually, but can barely produce half of that demand, spending close to $100 million in imports annually.
GMAZ said it had appointed a technical committee which will be charged with mobilising inputs and machinery for the production of wheat.
The committee would be chaired by GMAZ chairman Tafadzwa Musarara, and would be deputised by Greame Murdoch of Paper Hole Investments (PHI)
“To promote and expand contract wheat farming activities in all suitable farming districts in Zimbabwe, aiming to achieve national annual yield of at least 150 000 metric tonnes for the next three years. This contract will top attract new investment locally and abroad,” GMAZ said in a statement.
“To lobby for the alignment of some statutory regulations so that they, inter alia incentivise contract farming, deter and discourage side marketing and inputs abuse”
Other committee memebrs include Walter Chigodora of SeedCo, Adrian Carbutt (Rift Valley) Prosper Chiyanike (Metbank) and Johnson Mhanya (Ecobank).
In the 2017-18 season, Zimbabwe produced 186 243 tonnes of wheat, with 80% of the tonnage delivered from farmers contracted under government’s farm inputs support scheme and Command Agriculture.
In the previous season, the country produced less than 100 000 tonnes of wheat.