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Delta injects $1,3m into sorghum farming

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DELTA Beverages injected $1,3 million into its beverages sorghum contract farming scheme (BSCFS) during the 2016/17 financial year and expects to receive about 12 000 metric tonnes of both red and white sorghum, an official has said.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Sorghum

Sorghum

Delta requires 15 000 tonnes of sorghum annually and sources it locally through contract farming.

Sorghum beers have grown in importance within Delta’s product mix, as demand for clear beers and sparkling beverages continues to weaken due to the sluggish economy.

The company’s corporate affairs manager, Tsungie Manyeza, told NewsDay that Delta continues to run the sorghum contract scheme, which provides inputs for their flagship Chibuku traditional beer and Eagle lager.

“We are expecting to take delivery of about 12 000 metric tonnes of both red and white sorghum over a combined excess of 13 000ha of land,” she said.

“The scheme provides inputs, mainly seed, to communal farmers, who provide up to 70% of output. Selected commercial farmers may access other inputs such as fertilisers. The total financing is around $1,3 million.”

Manyeza said farmers were spread across the country in areas such as Chiredzi, Buhera, Mutoko and Muzarabani.

It provides livelihood to more than 9 000 communal families.

The company also contracts farmers under the winter barley scheme, but the programme was scaled down from around 7 000 hectares to 2 400ha in 2017 due to the failure to access malt exports, Manyeza said.

“The company requirements vary every season depending on the projected domestic beer volumes. There was also increased competition for irrigable land from the command agriculture wheat scheme in 2017, which is offering a very high guaranteed intake price,” she said.

“We resumed a limited maize contract scheme in 2016/17 summer season. Delta is a relatively small user of maize compared to the indicated national consumption. We, therefore, target to participate through marketing contracts.”

Manyeza said the barley contract scheme has managed to improve crop yields from 3,4 tonnes per hectare in 2009 to 6,7 tonnes per hectare achieved in 2016.

This has also ensured that the company relies on local raw materials, she said.

Manyeza said commercial users’ agro inputs were impacted by the high producer prices decreed by the government.

“These make the cost of production in Zimbabwe very high and uncompetitive, thereby, giving room to imported finished products. The price of maize at Grain Marketing Board pegged at $390, for example, is considerably above parity,” she said.

Delta injects $1,3m into sorghum farming : NewsDay Zimbabwe.

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