Farmers welcome 30 percent forex retention on maize

By Tapiwa Machemedze
FARMERS in Mashonaland Central have welcomed the 30 percent foreign currency incentive for maize deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board which was announced recently.
Farmers who are in the process of harvesting and those already delivering grain to Grain Marketing Depots (GMB) have welcomed the 30 percent foreign currency retention on proceeds of deliveries to the national silo.
Glendale farmer, Wishman Doro said the funds come at a time when they had incurred various costs including labour, sentiments echoed by another farmer Talent Muronzi.
“Right now we are in the process of harvesting grain and we will shell for delivery. We welcome the decision by government to give us 30 percent foreign currency because we use that money to pay labour, buy fuel and tractor spares,” said Doro.
“Government made the right move to give us 30 percent foreign currency for maize and we would even want that rate to go higher because we use that money for labour and other costs,” said Muronzi.
The Bindura Farmers Association expressed optimism the move will cushion farmers against exchange rate fluctuations and appealed for the price of maize to be pegged against the United States dollar.
‘We appreciate the 30 percent retention announced by government. Farmers are incurring costs as workers demand US dollars, so we would appreciate it even more if the money is paid as hard currency because these workers are paid in hard currency. The buying price for maize is pegged in Zim dollars and we would want it to be pegged against the dollar so that when the rate changes farmers are protected,” said Rodwell Choto, Bindura Farmers Association Chairperson.

Government’s intervention has also come at an opportune time as a significant number of growers are also preparing for wheat planting.