Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
GOVERNMENT has increased the maize producer floor price to $1 400 per tonne from $726 to enable farmers to go back to the fields in the upcoming summer cropping season.
It, however, immediately warned retailers against increasing the price of mealie meal since the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) buying price remains unchanged.
Cabinet said the maize producer price of US$242 per tonne must be paid in RTGS dollars but at the prevailing interbank market rate.
Addressing journalists during a post-Cabinet briefing in Harare yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet considered and approved the new GMB maize producer price.
“In this case, therefore, the maize producer price is thus reviewed upwards from the current RTGS$726 to RTGS$1 400 per metric tonne based on the interbank market rate of US$1: RTGS$5,5.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said the review of the maize producer price does not translate into an upward adjustment in the retail price of mealie meal since the GMB will continue to sell maize to millers at a Government subsidised price.
“Cabinet is appealing to business people not to increase prices as the GMB buying price has no impact on the selling price of mealie-meal,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
In April, Government approved the increase of the maize producer to $726 while wheat prices were set at $1 089,69, soya beans ($918) and cotton ($1 950) per tonne.
At the time, Government also approved a 38,5 percent subsidy on the selling price to millers to prevent increases in retail prices.
Minister Mutsvangwa also spoke about the humanitarian assistance being extended to the country by development partners, particularly in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, which left a trail of destruction in some parts of Manicaland and Masvingo.
She said Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo briefed Cabinet in his weekly update report that Government and the United Nations have come up with modalities to co-ordinate various agencies providing humanitarian assistance to areas affected by the cyclone.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the country’s food security was affected by both Cyclone Idai and the drought experienced this year.
“It is the mandate of Government to ensure that people get food and make sure no one starves,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa added that Government’s international appeal for assistance was well received and relief aid to the tune of $600 million would be mobilised.
“There is much more that is being done, even Government did not wait for donations from well-wishers, but it is putting more effort to ensure that it brings food relief to the people affected by both the drought and Cyclone Idai,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa also said the meeting which President Mnangagwa held with the United Nations assistant secretary Ms Ursula Mueller on Monday, was very critical as it brings everybody on board.
“It is actually a comprehensive approach to the issues which are affecting our people and we should be grateful,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Government will continue to work with development partners to bring food relief and infrastructure to Cyclone Idai affected areas.