BY KUDAKWASHE TAGWIREYI
FARMERS are pleading with the Grain Marketing Board to raise to 50% United States dollar (USD) offer to maize farmers.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) president Abdul Nyathi: “We welcome the 30% offered although we would have wanted it to be 50% for a start. We hope in the next season or when it comes to the selling season it will be revised maybe to 50%.”
“We welcome the government’s move that it has at least understood that the purchase of all supplies, in fact, all inputs is in the USD,” Nyathi said.
Nyathi added that it was difficult for farmers to access foreign currency on the parallel market to purchase inputs.
“It was very difficult for farmers to use the parallel exchange rate even the bank rate was too little to make anything towards the cost of inputs so with this move that has given us 30%, we welcome that and we also hope that they will also see that it needs to be improved as times goes on,” Nyathi added.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Shadreck Makombe said the move by government was welcome as farmers were looking at insulating themselves from the current economic hardships.
“The granting of 30% is in the right direction for a start by the government, however, as farmers, we would want to recover our costs if we look at what is prevailing in the economy, the fluctuations and the inflation are indicating that we may not go back to the field.
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“Yes we are happy with the 30%, but we are hoping that it adds up to 50% and 70% and eventually 100% as it is saving imports expenses,” Makombe said.
GMB last week advised farmers that it was paying them 30% for their maize and traditional grains in United States dollars and 70% in the local currency.
“The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) advises the nation that it is paying farmers 30% of the amount due on maize and traditional grains delivered in USD and 70% in the Zimbabwe dollars,” GMB chief executive Roki Mutenha said.
“Farmers are, therefore, urged to urgently open USD nostro accounts with their respective banks. The GMB is encouraging farmers to update their nostro banking details with supply chain managers at all depots throughout the country for timeous payment,” he added.
A Marondera farmer and agronomist, Kennedy Mapawona said the offer was too little given the high prices of inputs.
“I feel the 30% is a bit low given the high prices of inputs. What I would have preferred for GMB, it would rather offer me part payment as inputs. I cover myself in terms of inputs then whatever comes is another story. 30% will not cover the purchase of inputs we are buying using forex,” Mapawona said.
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