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Midlands farmers bartering grain for a song

by Staff reporter
14 Jun 2021 at 06:27hrs | Views
FARMERS in the Midlands province are engaging in barter trade, exchanging grain for groceries, risking making their families food insecure, Southern Eye has gathered.

Traditional leaders said some communal farmers were exchanging a bucket of maize for a 2kg packet of sugar.

Although Midlands province is a drought-prone area, this year it experienced good rains and good harvests.

In Chirumanzu, farmers were exchanging grain for food items such as rice and sugar.

"We were blessed with good harvests after receiving heavy rains. Unfortunately,farmers are now exchanging a bucket of maize for a packet of rice. We urge farmers to take heed of food security issues for their families and properly store and reserve their grain for the future," Chirumanzu ward 7 councillor Jericho Mazarire said.

Chief Chiwundura said he was not in support of barter trade because some unscrupulous buyers were getting the maize for little as US$1 per bucket.

"We had good rains and harvests in Chiwundura, particularly in wards 11, 12 and 13. But there are unscrupulous people who are coming here and exchanging a bar of soap with a bucket of maize. What this simply means is that they are getting a bucket of maize for as little as US$1. Farmers should, therefore, desist from selling grain to such people."

Chief Nemangwe of Gokwe South said exchanging grain for groceries was also rampant in his area.

He said local leadership has embarked on "mobile meetings" to raise awareness among farmers and warn them to desist from selling grain to unlicensed buyers.

In areas such as Lower Gweru, Mberengwa and Zvishavane, farmers were also exchanging their grain for sugar, salt, rice, soap and secondhand clothes.

In 2019, government through Statutory Instrument 145 banned the buying of maize by private players.

Maize producers can only sell their produce to the Grain Marketing Board.

Source - newsday

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