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Wheat Producer Price Boost Too Late to Help Zimbabwe Harvest - Experts

Though the Zimbabwean government's announced this week that the official price for wheat paid to producers will be increased 24-fold, agricultural experts said this is not likely to put an end to the country's chronic wheat - and bread - shortages.

The state-run Herald newspaper reported an increase in the producer price for wheat to Z$217,913 (US$872) a metric tonne from Z$9,000 previously. But the government acknowledges at the same time that wheat farmers have faced serious obstacles this growing season: shortages of electrical power to run irrigation systems, fuel and fertilizer, and massive crop damage by flocks of quelea birds.

Amidst pessimism over the forthcoming wheat harvest, reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe interviewed Edward Mkosi, member of parliament for Mangwe, Matabeleland South, who sits on the House agriculture committee. He said the price increase, however large, comes too late to do much good for crops.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...