The drop in fuel prices announced this week will have limited impact on farmers as lower grain values and high input costs will offset any savings from cheaper energy, said the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU).
“The price of fertiliser is still high. Unless we look at the figures, it is too early to know the impact this will have on farmers,” said ZNFU President Jervis Zimba.
On Monday, the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) announced a reduction in the fuel price, after an appreciation of the Kwacha against convertible currencies and excess supply. It became effective on Tuesday, with the price of petrol now at K11.67/litre from K12.50, while diesel has gone down from K10.72 to K9.87/litre.
Farmers interviewed in Lusaka said prices for inputs like seed and fertiliser remain high, while income from maize and soya bean is down 25% from a year ago. “I don’t know if the benefit of a drop in petrol and diesel prices will filter down through to fertiliser and other inputs,” said Gideon Thole.
Larry Mwale, who farms 20 acres west of Lusaka, said while the reduction is helpful, it will not influence his decision to scale down. “Several farmers, including myself, are rethinking the number of acres to plant because of input costs. A reduction in fuel and diesel will only help if it is substantial and sustainable,” he said.
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