HomeNewsGovernmentUmguza maize farmers resort to barter deals

Umguza maize farmers resort to barter deals

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SOME farmers in Umguza district are bartering a bucket of maize for 2kg of sugar in what authorities attributed to desperation as the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) took ages to pay for deliveries.

MTHANDAZO NYONI
OWN CORRESPONDENT

A 2kg pack of sugar costs between $1,95 and $2 whereas under normal circumstances a bucket of maize sells between $5 and $7.

Some farmers told Southern Eye that they were desperate for money as GMB was not paying them on time.

“There is no money and buyers are reluctant to buy. If you deliver your maize at GMB, you will hardly get paid on time,” a farmer who identified himself as Mhlophe, said.

He said they had no alternative as cash shortages forced them to barter their maize for basic necessities.

“It is better to barter than face hunger when you have something you can use to survive,” Mhlophe said.

“It is painful because some people from Bulawayo and neighbouring areas are taking advantage of our situation by buying a lot of maize from us and reselling at a higher price in the city.”

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union (ZCFU) president Wonder Chabikwa said farmers had no option, but to use what they had to survive.

“It’s as a result of the continuous use of US dollar which is difficult to get,” he said

“There are no buyers, hence they do this out of desperation because there is no money.

“They end up using what they have to solve a problem at hand.

Charles Taffs, president of the Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) said the maize price gazetted by the government was too restrictive and this was the reason why buyers were reluctant to buy maize from farmers.

“It’s a problem and it has been exacerbated by the high maize price gazetted by the government,” he said.

“The GMB has no money to buy and the $390 a tonne is way too high and restrictive. Taffs said the CFU had proposed that the government should not gazette the maize price and leave room for negotiation. Last month, the government pegged the maize producer price for the 2014 to 2015 marketing season at $390 per tonne, up from last season’s $385.

However, the development did not go down well with the Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (Gmaz) which wanted the gazetted maize price to apply only to GMB purchases.

Gmaz said the $390 per tonne was the highest price in the world and was going to burden private millers and traders.

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