Farmers in Mashonaland Central are optimistic of recording a good harvest despite erratic rains experienced this summer amid calls for an upward review of the maize producer price in line with the increase in input costs. 

The summer cropping season has brought mixed fortunes for farmers due to erratic rainfall patterns.

Despite the irregular rains, farmers in the province, particularly those engaged in maize production, the country’s staple crop, have not been deterred from fulfilling their plans and anticipate a good harvest.

At Danchi farm Mr Daniel Chinyemba who planted 50 hectares of maize, 30 hectares of soya beans and 30 hectares of sugar beans said although the land is generally dry he expects a good yield if there are rains in the next few days.  

“Starting with maize, this type of crop we are told has capacity of 15 tonnes per hectare. We have done some 10 tonnes but we are expecting 12 to 13 per hectare, as for our soya beans people talk of 5 tonnes and above after our pod count we expect to get 4.5 tonnes per hectare,” said Mr Chinyemba.

Small scale farmer Mr Jimmy Wilford called for an increase in the maize producer price to ensure that self-financing farmers make profits since input costs spiked during the planting phase.

“I expect a reasonable harvest from 3 hectares but I hope there will be an increase in the maize producer price since fertiliser costs went up,” said Mr Wilford.

While the bulk of the maize crop in Mashonaland Central was produced under the command maize programme, farmers faced challenges in getting adequate inputs with some complementing the balance through their own funds.