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Anxiety as GMB fails to pay farmers

TSITSI CHIYANGWA

 

Farmers are fretting over failure by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to pay the outstanding ZWL$54bn,which is  equivalent to USD$25mn in a development that will likely affect preparations for the 2023\24 agricultural season.

The failure by GMB to pay farmers their outstanding dues for grain supplied has threatened prospects of a bumper harvest for the 2023-2024 agricultural season anchored on impressive maize, soya beans, sun flower, millet and cotton production.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) executive director Paul Zakariya said the issue of delayed payments is a major   drawback for many of the   farmers.

“We are at a stage where farmers would require to ensure that cash flows continue to be positive on the farms and that they meet other expenses like labour costs and   repairs   to machinery and equipment as well as ensuring that the farms are ticking so these delayed payments   have actually become quite a bother on many operations,” he said.

He said many of the farmers   have   already been trained in climate proofing but the development will come to naught if they do not get their outstanding allowances.

Last week, GMB finance director Clemence Guta told Parliament that of the outstanding allowances, ZWL$ 21 billion was for maize deliveries.

“We have an outstanding balance of  ZWL$54bn of which ZWL$21bn relates  to maize deliveries  and we got US$ 25mn which is  outstanding  as well about US$ 8.7mn relates to traditional grains with the balance being for wheat deliveries.”

Guta pleaded with the Treasury to release funds ahead of the farming season.

“We are continuously pursuing the Treasury so that they release funds so that our farmers are able to go back to the fields.”

He also said the GMB has started   receiving inputs for the Pfumvudza programme but was lagging  behind in terms of payments to transporters.

 


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