THE Grain Marketing Board has urged the government to set minimum output for small-scale commercial farmers as the country battles with a grain deficit.
GMB general manager Albert Mandizha said the Agricultural Marketing Authority should make it compulsory for A2 small-scale farmers to produce at least two metric tonnes of maize each season to ensure food security.
Speaking at a consultative and planning workshop Mandizha said the 382 000 A2 farmers should at least produce two metric tonnes of maize and every season the country would be guaranteed over 600 000 metric tonnes of maize each season.
“It’s an issue that seriously needs to be considered, two metric tonnes of maize for every A2 farmer means that no one will have to go to Zambia to import maize,” Mandizha said.
Mandizha said for this arrangement with A2 farmers, the government would pay for the maize.
The government has since revised projected maize output for 2013 to 798 600 metric tonnes from
1,1 million. This is a further reduction from the 968 000 tonnes recorded last year.
The government is currently in the process of importing 150 000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia following indications that the country might face a food deficit owing to erratic rainfall
The poor maize output is attributed to an erratic rainfall pattern as well as financing constraints.
With reduced production levels, Zimbabwe, once regarded as the bread basket of the region has resorted to grain inputs.
Critics blame the chaotic land reform programme implemented more than a decade ago for decimating agricultural output.
Farmers’ organisations have in the past blamed payment delays by GMB for declining grain output.