“People have maize but they are reluctant to sell given that production costs outweigh the selling costs,” said Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) secretary-general, Donald Khumalo. “By selling maize, we are actually making losses given that the cost of producing a tonne last year in some cases ran up to US$700. Farmers had to buy a 50kg bag of Compound D fertiliser for R500 and seed for R1 500 for a 25kg bag on the black-market.
In view of the record low maize harvests, the government is desperately trying to beef up its Strategic Grain Reserve from the current empty status to the full quota of 936,000 tonnes. However, this will remain a dream unless the government increases its purchase price to match what it is being offered by private millers.