BEVERAGES manufacturer Delta Corporation has set aside US$5,4 million to contract farmers to produce sorghum during the 2012/13 cropping season, an official said on Wednesday.
Sorghum is the main ingredient in the production of opaque beer as well as the cheaper lager brand Eagle.
Delta corporate affairs manager Ms Tsungai Matiure told New Ziana that US$1,4 million would go towards purchasing inputs while US$4 million would be for procuring the grain from the farmers.
Ms Matiure said the inputs, which include seed, fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides, are expected to cover 11 000 hectares of land.
"A yield of 11 500 tonnes of red sorghum compared to 7 500 tonnes the previous season is anticipated, while 1 500 tonnes white sorghum, similar to the
2011/12 season, is expected," she said, adding that over 8 500 households would benefit from the investment.
Under the contract farming programming, communal farmers would cater for about 8 500 hectares, while commercial farmers will cover 2 500 hectares.
Ms Matiure said commercial farmers would be provided with seed, fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides while the communal farmers got seed only. "The communal sector operates in groups run by a chairman and his committee," she said.
"Apart from providing the communal farmers with a guaranteed and stable market the programme benefits communities by developing their capacity to manage their own developmental projects."
The crop would be purchased at a landed price of US$285 for red sorghum and US$290 for white sorghum. - New Ziana.