Government is expecting grain deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to peak starting next month to September.
Speaking at a post Cabinet briefing on Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the government was committed to paying farmers on time.
Farmers have been holding on to their grain demanding to be paid in US dollar.
Government is paying ZWL$75 000 a tonne plus (30% of that in foreign currency) an incentive of USS$90 a tonne to boost early deliveries.
“…It is anticipated that deliveries will peak around July to September, before declining in November,” Mutsvangwa said.
The value of the grain delivered so far is ZWL$1.8bn and US$2.12m, with ZWL$748m and US$2m having already been paid to the farmers.
The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe has already secured 400 000 tonnes from Malawi and Zambia.
A farmer who spoke on condition of anonymity told Business Times that grain deliveries will remain subdued due to low productivity levels and payment methods.
“The biggest problem with our government is that they have time frames which anticipate the grain deliveries to peak but the reality is that if they continue with that mentality they will have little stocks this year.
“What they should do is to increase prices and get as much from farmers as very soon the black market prices will go up in US$ and the government won’t stand a chance,” he said.
Farmers use US$ to procure inputs, plant, weed, harvest and shell hence they expect payment in hard currency in order to go back to the field next season.
This year a total area of 1 900 754 hectares were put under maize with a projected yield of 1 557 914 tonnes of maize thereby giving us an average of 0.82 tonnes per hectare.
This is a huge drop from 1.39 tonnes per hectare recorded during the 2020/20221 summer cropping season.
This was attributed to the late onset of the rainy season and prolonged dry spells experienced in most parts of the country.
There was also poor rainfall distribution in most parts of the country during the peak production period of the season.