A report recently published in this past week’s Manica Post has revealed that sugar bean farmers in Chipinge are very unhappy with the current market price of around US$0.70 per kg that is being offered to them by buyers. The farmers said they considered this to be daylight robbery considering the skyrocketing costs of inputs that they had incurred.

As farmers, we agreed that we will not sell our beans for a song. These middlemen are getting more than what the actual farmer is pocketing and we are saying no to that daylight robbery.

We are looking for serious buyers and we hope to strike a deal soon. Growing sugar beans is now an expensive venture.

Imagine a 50kg bag of top dressing fertiliser is going for US$70 and then someone wants to buy a kilogramme of our produce for less than a dollar.

Mr Thondlana Chairperson of Middle Sabi Farmers Association.

Farmers feel shortchanged

Most farmers feel the price is too low. They think that buyers are taking advantage of them because they are not organised and are selling to buyers as individuals. The truth though is that the prices being offered to them by buyers seem fair because the crop retails at around US$1 per kg at Mbare Musika and in various shops. The highest price we have seen for sugar beans was US$1.80 per kg in supermarkets although that price is an exception rather than the norm.

The thing is while Zimbabwean farmers have for the most part mastered the art of farming there are still not yet versed in the science and financials of agriculture. Most farmers tend to be impulsive when it comes to choosing which crops to grow and when to grow them. Often they go by what their neighbours and friends are growing rather than look at any calendars or doing market research. The result is that they often grow crops that are in excess supply. Right now a lot of farmers are growing potatoes leading to a glut on the market and prices falling. On the other hand there is shortage of tomatoes that has persisted for months resulting in better prices.