Made says much-hailed “command agriculture” falls far short of maize target


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Commodities firm Sakunda Holdings, which put up close to $300 million for the maize programme, will fund 50 000 hectares of wheat, Made said.

Private firms National Foods, Northern Farming and Staywell Trading have committed funds for 5 000 hectares each, with other unnamed funders taking up the rest.

Made said to date, 41 312 hectares of the 70 000 hectares had been offered to 1 457 farmers.

Wheat production has not been spared the decline in Zimbabwe’s farm output since the government began redistributing land from white farmers to previously landless blacks in the early 2000s.

Wheat output, which peaked at 325 000 tonnes in 1990 and 2001, now averages 20 000 tonnes — the equivalent of two weeks supply. Zimbabwe’s annual wheat requirements stand at 400 000 tonnes.

Apart from the upheavals on the farms, wheat production is expensive in Zimbabwe, compared to regional peers due to a variety of factors including high electricity and water tariffs as well as other costs such as fertilizers and seed, priced in a strong US dollar currency which the country adopted in 2009 to tame hyperinflation.

Made’s $140 million programme on 70 000 hectares assumes production costs at $2 000 per hectare.

Given an average yield of three tonnes per hectare, the implied cost per tonne of nearly $700.

A tonne of wheat was quoted at just over $300 on www.grainsa.co.za today.-The Source

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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