GMB pays $60bn to maize, wheat farmers

GMB maize grain silo
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THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has paid a total of $60 billion to maize and wheat farmers for deliveries made during the 2021-2022 marketing season, as the parastatal endeavours to meet farmers’ expectations to be paid on time.

As at January 6, GMB had received 207 608 tonnes of wheat, an increase from 156 115 tonnes received in the last intake.

The grain utility has also received 987 353 tonnes of maize which will assure food security for the country.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail, GMB chief executive Mr Rockie Mutenha said the company will continue to make efforts to pay farmers on time.

“Generally, 2021 was a good year for GMB as we managed to meet and in some cases surpass our targets. A case in point is wheat deliveries where we procured 207 068 metric tonnes.

“In excess of $48 billion has been paid to farmers that delivered maize and traditional grains while in excess of $12 billion was paid to wheat farmers.”

Mr Mutenha said farmers were being paid on time although in some instances they were facing challenges owing to reasons such as providing wrong banking details.

He said GMB had since engaged banks on behalf of the affected farmers to ensure that their accounts are upgraded to full Know Your Customer (KYC) accounts.

“When we started the marketing season on 1 April 2021, our intention was to pay farmers within 72 hours after delivering their crop. However, in some instances, we were let down by farmers who provided us with wrong bank accounts or banking details with low KYC. As a result, the money that we transferred would bounce.

“To rectify the situation, GMB introduced a Farmer’s Card with a full KYC account. Through this card, a farmer can make all the necessary transactions including transferring money into his bank,” said Mr Mutenha.

He said the GMB is still distributing inputs for the climate-proofed Pfumvudza/Intwasa Presidential Inputs Scheme and is urging farmers to plant short-season varieties.

“As advised by our agronomists, we would like to urge farmers to continue planting short-season varieties for the different crops. As the GMB we particularly would like to emphasise on maize and traditional grains such as sorghum, millet, rapoko and sunflowers,” said Mr Mutenha.

He encouraged farmers to grow sunflowers under both commercial and communal areas.

“We are encouraging farmers under the Presidential Inputs Programme to engage Agritex and collect sunflower seeds from their nearest GMB depots. The GMB has hybrid sunflower seed available under the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme.

“Sunflowers can be grown under a wide range of soils in every corner of the country. The crop can be planted from November to January; hence we still have a window to plant and harvest viably,” said Mr Mutenha.

“Sunflowers are used in cooking oil production and the residue from cooking oil production is used in the manufacture of stock feeds. This makes sunflower such a strategic crop as it serves both humans and animals”.

The pre-planting price for sunflower as approved by the Government is $150 636, 20 per tonne. – Sunday News