CHIPINGE – Chipinge sugar beans farmers are complaining over producer prices of between US$0,50 and US$0,70 a kg which they are getting from buyers and middlemen marauding the area from as far afield as Harare.
The farmers who spoke to Chipinge Times in interviews said that they needed minimum producer prices of US$1,20 a kg to recoup costs for input and labour.
The sugar beans marketing season started this month and will run until September.
Chipinge District Agric Extension officer Tapiwanashe Chagwesha confirmed the situation and urged the farmers to form an association of producers and speak with one voice so that they are not taken advantage of by buyers and middlemen.
Chipinge has 1500 farmers involved in sugar beans and the estimated total production from the area is 2000 to 3000 tones.
“Small scale sugar beans farmers should unite and speak with one voice. They should engage the Agricultural Marketing Authority and negotiate for a win-win deal,” said Chagwesha.
A Middle Sabi farmer Edward Simango said they are spending huge sums of cash to buy inputs hence buyers should pay better prices.
“Inputs are now very expensive and agro-dealers have been pegging their prices in foreign currency. We have harvested our crop but buyers are offering peanuts. This is unfair,” he said.
Another farmer Timothy Sigauke of Musikavanhu irrigation in Chibuwe said sugar beans gave them cash throughout the year and was therefore an important source of income for people in the area.
He said “We rely much on selling beans to pay yearly bills so that our irrigation continues working. If these unscrupulous buyers duped us our farms will not work again and we hope we will reach a fair deal”. https://masvingomirror.com