GMB Clears Arrears to Farmers for Last Winter Wheat Crop

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HARARE,— The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has announced the settlement of all outstanding payments owed to farmers for their previous winter wheat crop, addressing concerns that had affected preparations for the current planting season.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the GMB confirmed that it had received US$5.3 million this week to clear the remaining arrears, bringing the total payments to farmers to US$44 million. “The Grain Marketing Board wishes to advise all our valued customers that all outstanding payments for wheat farmers have been fully made,” the statement read.

The delays in payments had been a significant issue for farmers, impacting their ability to prepare for the current season. The GMB acknowledged the support from the treasury in prioritizing and mobilizing the necessary resources to settle the payments.

Zimbabwe harvested 375,000 metric tonnes of wheat last year, with the GMB receiving wheat worth approximately US$37 million by mid-November. Despite the bumper harvest, farmers expressed regret over participating in the 2023 winter wheat season, citing heavy losses due to prices plummeting to around US$300 per tonne, significantly lower than the US$520 per tonne promised by the government.

In 2022, a successful wheat harvest led the government to halt flour and wheat imports, with Agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka declaring that Zimbabwe had sufficient supplies to be self-sustaining. However, the decision to reopen borders for cereal imports in March adversely affected local millers, causing some to scale down operations and others to shut down entirely.