Middle Sabi farmers up sugar bean hectarage

By Tamuka Charakupa

FARMERS in Middle Sabi are determined to increase the hectarage for sugar beans this winter, in the wake of a new producer price of up to one US$800 per tonne.

The proposed sugar beans producer price of between US$1500 and US$1800 dollars per tonne has excited farmers in the area, with over 2 000 hectares expected to be planted this winter season.

“We are happy with the price for this season because we will be able to cover production costs. We are still appealing to government to support with capital equipment because as of now, we are resorting to hiring which is not sustainable,” said Siboniso Mutema, a farmer.

Chairperson of the Middle Sabi Farmers Association, Skhumbuzo Thodhlana confirmed the sugar beans hectarage earmarked for the winter planting season.

“So far we have planted around 300 hectares, but our objective is to plant at least 2 000 hectares this season. The price is fair and is a key motivator for our farmers. Of course, preparations for the winter wheat are also advanced,” he said.

Local investor, Tom Notier, who is operating in the area under the Joint Ventures Act, says the partnership with local farmers will restore Middle Sabi as a hub for sugar bean and wheat production.

“Joint ventures are going very well. Of course, it is going to take us a bit of time to get up and running properly, but a lot of investment is going on. It is working well,” said Mr Notier.

Apart from sugar beans production, farmers in the area are also preparing for wheat production, with at least 500 hectares set to be planted.