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Zimbabwe Farmers Say New Maize Producer Price Still Low

Most Zimbabwean farmers are now resorting to growing cash crops instead of maize that fetches less money on the market.
Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union executive director Paul Zachariah says most farmers are not happy with the 2014-2015 maize producer price of $390 a tonne announced Tuesday by Agriculture Minister Joseph Made which was approved by the cabinet.

Zachariah said farmers’ unions met last week and agreed that the producer price should range between $400 and $420 a tonne to cover expenses.

But the government said it settled for $390 after considering the current price of mealie-meal.

Last season many farmers avoided selling their maize to the government-approved buyer, Grain Marketing Board and sold it in the black market where the maize fetched more than the gazetted $385.

Zimbabwe is currently importing maize from Zambia and South Africa to make-up for shortages.

Zachariah noted that the new producer price does not give maize farmers the zeal to continue producing the same crop.

“If you want to encourage farmers to produce maize, then you should put incentives,” said Zachariah.
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