ZIMBABWE – The Zimbabwe Mercantile Exchange (ZMX) is calling upon the government to open up the borders for soya bean and maize imports as the supplier fails to satiate buyers’ growing appetite due to shortage.

Food Crop Contractors Association (FCCA) Chairperson Mr. Graeme Murdoch said farmers no longer had surplus commercial soya beans and maize to sell to the commodity trader.

“As we go into the new summer cropping season, the bulk of the commercial maize and soya bean has already been sold and the remaining maize is now in the small-scale sector,” Mr. Murdoch said.

According to him, households in this sector are holding on to their maize for food security reasons, particularly in light of concerns around a pending El Niño drought.

Dr Shadreck Makombe, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) president concurred saying most farmers are now securing their grain instead of selling to ensure they have enough stocks to cushion them from possible food shortages resulting from the predicted El Nino weather pattern.

The call follows statistics from the ZMX that show that buyers submitted soya bean bids for 500 tonnes at an average price of US$520 per kilogram worth US$260 000.

However, farmers were only willing to sell only 32. 50 tonnes at an average price of US$514. 63 valued at US$ 16,725, 48.

As a result, a total of 467. 50 bids and offers with an average price of US$520 worth US$243 100 were unsuccessful due to a shortage of soybeans.

Meanwhile, on the same trading day maize buyers submitted bids for 183, 80 tonnes at an average price of US$308, 26 with a total value of US$56 658, 19.

Farmers offered only 32. 30 tonnes of maize at an average price of US$310 per tonne valued at US$10 013.

All the offered maize was sold at an average price of US$310. 09 with sellers grossing US$10, 015. 91. However, a total of 151. 50 bids and offers with an average price of US$307. 87 valued at US$46 642, 31 were unsuccessful.

Dr Reneth Mano, Stockfeed Manufacturers Association of Zimbabwe (SMAZ) Executive Administrator said the ZMX trading pattern confirmed that the Zimbabwe market was now dry of commercial supply of maize.

According to him, the decision by the Government to open up the borders for maize imports was the right thing.

“South Africa is the only country in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) exporting maize and its current free on board (FOB) price for white maize is US$208 per tonne landing in Harare at between US$308 and $323 per tonne, “Dr. Mano noted.

He added that between October 2023 and April 30, 2024, the stockfeed industry is set to import 240,000 to 300,000 tonnes of maize primarily from SA.