Zimbabwe to adjust grain prices to spur output, President says

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Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has ordered an upward adjustment of the producer price of grain to motivate farmers to increase production.

In his weekly column published in the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper, Mnangagwa said the undertaking to pay 30% of early grain deliveries including the staple corn in US dollars “is not adequate” to get farmers to grow crops in the next season.

“I am keenly aware that there have been significant price movements all around since we announced producer prices for the season,” Mnangagwa wrote in the Harare-based weekly newspaper.

“These price movements were partly related to the unstable exchange rate; they have made those producer prices announced earlier on non-viable to the farmer.”

Zimbabwe requires 2.2-million tons of corn for human and livestock consumption annually, according to the ministry of agriculture. Owing to late rains, only 1.56-million tons of corn were harvested this season, down from a record 2.7-million tons in the 2020-2021 planting season.

The nation is food secure and has 500,000 tons of corn as part of its strategic grain reserves, according to Mnangagwa.

His administration is “yet to make a decision” to import grain paid for by the government, while the import of 400,000 tons of corn from Malawi and Zambia announced last month by the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe for use by private sector players has created “a misperception of grain scarcity in the country”.