Farmers welcome GMB payment plan

Dr Edson Badarai
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Farmers are calling for the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to clear its arrears and speed up payments for all grain delivered last year..

GMB has paid the Zimbabwe dollar component of $157 billion and so far US$27,2 million in foreign currency for both the summer crop intake and winter wheat.

It is working on clearing the US dollar component of US$39 million and $12,3 billion in local currency.

Farmers in Zvimba who spoke to The Herald welcomed the development.

Mr Terrence Mafusire of Mareverwa village indicated that farmers needed to get payments on time so that they prepare for the next season.

“Yes farmers were complaining that they were not getting their payments on time, but we applaud the efforts taken by the Government so far to give farmers their payments. This is a positive step towards improving the agriculture sector,” he said.

Another farmer Mr Gilbert Mupumbu of Mupumbu Village said while grateful to receive what they have worked he wanted frantic efforts this season to ensure that farmers were paid on time.

“We are grateful, but we urge the Government to intervene so that we get payments on time. Inflation is rising and we end up failing to acquire tangible assets. We expect that money to be spent in other meaningful production as well,’’ he said.

Ms Tarisai Chigadure of Kasanze indicated that farming should be prioritised as a business that needed to be supported fully to provide meaningful production.

“Most people in rural areas rely on farming so it is critical to ensure that farmers get payments early. This will ensure that they buy inputs on time and plan everything on time. This will not compromise the yield,’’ she said.

Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust president Mrs Depinah Nkomo said most farmers were intending to use those payments for other expenses.

“Delays in getting payments may also affect other productions, but we applaud the Government’s efforts to ensure that farmers get their payments for the deliveries they have done,” she said.

GMB chief executive Dr Edson Badarai said efforts to clear up the balance are being scaled up.

“The Grain Marketing Board would like to advise the valued farmers and stakeholders that payments for farmers have been significantly made. This involves payment of $157 billion and US$27,2 million. This is both for summer intake and winter wheat deliveries.

“Meanwhile, we are working with the Treasury to accelerate the mobilisation of financial resources so that we clear the outstanding balances of $12,3 billion and US$39 million,’’ he said.

Dr Badarai said GMB is apologising for the delayed payments to the committed farmers who are spearheading the agricultural reform that has seen Zimbabwe attaining food self-sufficiency.

GMB also reiterated its commitment to play its role in national food security, especially in ensuring that farmers are paid on time. – Herald