THE Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) wants government to maintain its subsidy on local wheat supplies to ensure their membership’s continued viability.
Government is under pressure to reign in the burgeoning fiscal deficit through removing subsidies and embrace private sector funding for agriculture programmes.
The millers have proposed Grain Marketing Board (GMB) buys a tonne of wheat at $710 from farmers before reselling to millers at $310, a whopping $400 subsidy. Currently wheat farmers receive $500 for a tonne from the GMB.
“We have proposed the farmers get US$710 a tonne from GMB and it resells to us at US$310 admittedly this is a huge subsidy but the demand for wheat has grown from 22 thousand tonnes a few years ago to 38 thousand tonnes and as we move forward demand for wheat will grow as we have a young population” said Musarara.
This year local wheat farmers are expected to produce 120 000 tonnes from the winter crop and GMAZ says its membership is committed to contract farmers to increase production.
Musarara said the local wheat production will augment exports and this will ease pressure on bakeries as some had closed owing to the wheat shortages experienced in recent weeks.
Under government’s transitional winter production programmes which cover winters for 2019-20 wheat hectarage is expected to grow while output is set to reach 400 000 tonnes in 2020.
Wheat production levels will average 6 tons per hectare on the back of innovative and transformational initiatives.