THE Grain Marketing Board is sitting on almost 20 000 metric tonnes of inputs for the Pfumvudza programme and has urged farmers to speed up land preparations to ensure they get inputs in the next two weeks.
Government, through GMB, procured inputs for the climate proofed programme which is supposed to benefit 1,8 million households across the country and improve the food security situation for the nation.
Under Pfumvudza, farmers are required to dig and mulch three plots measuring 39mx16m before they can get an input package that include seed (maize, traditional grain and soya beans), Compound D fertiliser, Ammonium Nitrate and lime.
Farmers are, however, accusing GMB of delaying the distribution of inputs to them, thereby resulting in delays in planting.
Speaking on the sidelines of a GMB strategic plan review workshop in Nyanga early this week, GMB general manager, Mr Rockie Mutenha said the farmers are delaying the inputs delivery process.
“We are really worried because the farmers are delaying the inputs delivery process. As we speak, we are sitting on 3 032 metric tonnes of seed which has to be distributed between now and mid-December.
“We have about 5 000 tonnes of Compound D, and the same quantities of Ammonium Nitrate and lime.
“The farmers are not ready to receive the inputs as they have not finished land preparations,” he said.
He said GMB expects the outstanding farmers to take advantage of the rains that were received across the country to dig the holes so that they can get their inpus.
Mr Mutenha said GMB is optimistic that all inputs will be distributed to beneficiaries on time.
By last month, about 9 261 tonnes of seed and 74 606 tonnes of fertilisers had been distributed to about 1,4 million farmers.
He said the company will also carry out investigations and blacklist transporters that are forcing farmers to pay for the delivery of inputs as Government is shouldering that cost.
“Farmers should not tolerate transporters who make them pay for input delivery. No transporter hired by GMB is allowed to charge farmers for delivering the inputs as they would have been paid.
“If we identify such transporters, we will cancel them from our register because it is not the responsibility of the farmer to pay that person,” he said.
Meanwhile, GMB has also stepped up preparations to receive and manage the three million metric tonnes of grain expected from the 2020/2021 agricultural season.
Mr Mutenha said the grain expected this season is likely to last for about two years, hence the need to put in place mechanisms to protect its quality.
“Government has done a lot in trying to promote production and as GMB we have to make sure that we have strategies in place to store and manage the grain.
“We have enough capacity to receive well over 4 million tonnes of grain in our silos and bag depots.
“The quantities of grains that will be delivered to GMB calls for sustainable planning to ensure good quality grain reserves,” he said.
Besides the Pfumvudza programme, Government is expecting more grain from the CBZ Agro-Yields commercial farming contract scheme.
Government has also introduced the Zunde RaMambo initiative, which is capacitating traditional chiefs with inputs that will benefit their communities. – Chronicle