The Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) has invited agribusinesses and other players that depend on agricultural raw materials to enter into production and marketing contracts with farmers for the oncoming season.
AMA has called for the contractors to secure at least 40 percent of their annual raw material requirements through contract growers, which would create significant job and business opportunities for farmers.
Contract farming can be defined as agricultural production carried out according to an agreement between a buyer and farmers, which establishes conditions for the production and marketing of a farm product or products.
It involves agricultural production being carried out on the basis of an agreement between the buyer and farm producers.
Contract farming has the potential to promote agricultural productivity and farm income. Analysts say the model should be extended to emerging farmers who struggle to have access to finance for their productive endeavors.
Notably, AMA said value chain financing would play an important role in ensuring that strategic objectives of the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy (AFSTS) and agriculture recovery plan are realized.
Agriculture, expected to grow by 34 percent this year after a good rain season that saw record grain output, is a strategic sector in Zimbabwe accounting for an estimated 16 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) while employing hundreds of thousands across the country.
The authority said initiatives to ensure contract production of agricultural raw materials were meant to encourage local sourcing of inputs, which would save the country foreign currency and create new jobs, and support the growth of agriculture in Zimbabwe.
AMA, a state institution that regulates the marketing of agricultural products in the country, said contracts for farmed inputs would enable contractors to ringfence their production requirements. This comes as the new farming season is set to commence on October 1, 2021, until September 30, 2022.
“In addition, the authority is calling for contractors to secure at least 40 percent of their annual raw material requirements through contract growing. The Agricultural Marketing Authority is inviting contractors for the following crops: maize, soya bean, sorghum, sunflower, sesame, and cotton,” AMA said.
The authority said companies or individuals who want to undertake contract farming during the 2021/2022 season were required to register or renew their licenses in line with provisions of the Agricultural Marketing Authority Act, Chapter 18:24, Statutory Instrument 147 of 2012.