Grain farmers have welcomed the decision by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to pay 30 per cent of their proceeds in US dollars but have pleaded for the forex component of the payments to be raised to 50 per cent.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) president Abdul Nyathi told NewsDay that all farming inputs are now being sold in US dollars. Nyathi said:
We welcome the 30% offered although we would have wanted it to be 50% for a start. We hope in the next season or when it comes to the selling season it will be revised maybe to 50%.
We welcome the government’s move that it has at least understood that the purchase of all supplies, in fact, all inputs is in the USD.
It was very difficult for farmers to use the parallel exchange rate even the bank rate was too little to make anything towards the cost of inputs so with this move that has given us 30%, we welcome that and we also hope that they will also see that it needs to be improved as times goes on.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) president Shadreck Makombe said it would be ideal if farmers get 100% of their payments in foreign currency. He said:
The granting of 30% is in the right direction for a start by the government, however, as farmers, we would want to recover our costs if we look at what is prevailing in the economy, the fluctuations and the inflation are indicating that we may not go back to the field.
Yes, we are happy with the 30%, but we are hoping that it adds up to 50% and 70% and eventually 100% as it is saving imports expenses.
Last week, GMB advised farmers that it was paying them 30% for their maize and traditional grains in United States dollars and 70% in Zimbabwe dollars.