Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
Treasury has released $14 million to pay for the grain delivered to the Grain Marketing Board, bringing to $30 million the amount released by Government in three weeks, a senior Government official has said. Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Dr Joseph Made, yesterday said treasury released $15 million three weeks ago.
“The release of the outstanding money will go a long way in assisting farmers to kick start purchase of inputs,” he said. He urged input suppliers to ensure inputs were made available nearer to farmers so that they do not have to travel long distances to buy the inputs. “Treasury has also promised to immediately start looking for resources to take care of the delivered grain. Already GMB has received over 50 000 tonnes of maize.
“ I appreciate farmers for their confidence in the GMB by continuing to deliver their grain. I also appreciate efforts by the Treasury to pay farmers,” he said. Dr Made said Government had already paid for the wheat deliveries and would start paying for the 2015/16 maize deliveries soon.
GMB would also pay some farmers who in 2009 paid for fertiliser to the GMB using Zimbabwean currency. They will be given their fertilisers and will be informed on when and where to present their receipts for collection of the inputs,” he said.
Late payments by the Grain Marketing Board over the past years have affected the Strategic Grain reserve as farmers prefer to sell their grain to buyers offering cash. GMB pays $390 per tonne, a price which is higher than that offered by regional counterparts.
Zimbabwe requires two million tonnes of maize per year for human and livestock consumption. The strategic grain reserve should have 500 000 tonnes of maize at any given time to ensure national food security.