Grain price hikes welcome but . . .

EDITOR — The decision by Cabinet to approve price increases of maize, wheat, soya beans and cotton by more than 80 percent is most welcome and good news for the farmers and producers of these grains.

Government has done well in rewarding hardworking farmers who produce these grains. According to press reports this comes after farmers were demanding government to double the producer price as the agricultural industry has been faced with viability challenges amid the rising farming inputs..

Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the increase was not likely to have an impact on prices as government would maintain 38,5 percent selling price to millers subsidy. Maize price is now pegged at RTGS$726 per matric tonne while wheat now costs RTGS$1 089,69.  Soya beans will fork out RTGS$918 per tonne from producers while cotton now costs RTGS$1 950 per metric tonne.
All these price increases mean that at least farmers will have more money in their pockets.But what is of concern is what this price means to ordinary people in the country.

I’m asking myself why would the government award farmers such an increment at this  point in time? If the economy is doing so well why put an 80 percent increase on grains?

It is my humble interpretation that the government is actually admitting that the RTGS$ has lost value and realised that the money that was being paid to farmers was nothing and would not enable them to buy inputs for the next season.

In fact the farmers will receive more money but that money will not have value at all rendering this increment useless.
The other issue that is of concern is that after this 80 percent increase, the ordinary citizens will be on the receiving end as most products from these grain are likely to go up by the same percentage if not more — making the already suffering citizens suffer even more.

By the end of the week the price of maize-meal, flour, bread etc will increase so high that these products will be beyond the reach of most people.

If the government cared about it’s citizens it would make sure that the prices of basic commodities are controlled. 

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