Farmers have appealed to Government to adjust the maize producer price this marketing season to enable them to break even and to allow them to go back to the land.

The grain marketing season started yesterday.

Most farmers have, however, indicated that their crop is not yet ready for harvesting as they planted late due to late onset of the rainy season.

Some few urban farmers have, however, started harvesting notwithstanding the high moisture content to safeguard their harvest against theft.

Goromonzi farmer Mr Boniface Chitate said he expected to start harvesting his crop in May.

“We hope Government will adjust the producer price so that we can be able to break even and return to the fields.

“The prices of basic commodities and inputs have gone up and the producer price of $390 per tonne is no longer viable. Two tonnes can now buy only two bags of fertiliser,” he said.

Mr Chitate said fuel prices had also gone up and this would translate into high production costs.

Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers’ Association Trust president Mrs Depinah Nkomo said farmers were expecting an increase in the producer price.

“The producer price of $390 per tonne used to be viable and farmers would make meaningful profits. Now that input prices have gone up we hope authorities will also increase the producer price.

“A 50kg bag of fertiliser now costs around $70 while a 25kg bag of maize seed costs between $170 and $200 per 25kg bag. The prices of herbicides have also gone up and we expect Government to address this as we go into the marketing season,” she said.

The Grain Marketing Board urged farmers to deliver their grain to its depots as it has enough storage capacity while farmers are assured of getting their payments early.

GMB general manager Mr Rockie Mutenha said farmers risked making losses if they sold their grain to middlemen.

“We have more than adequate storage, scales, and stacker machines among other things.

“Farmers should grade their grain crops and not mix bad and good maize as the entire crop will be downgraded,” he said.

Mr Mutenha urged farmers to have their maize tested for moisture content levels before delivering it to the GMB depots.

“As usual, the GMB pays early. We urge farmers to re-activate their bank accounts and ensure they give us the correct bank or cellphone details,” he said.

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