GMB pays farmers $427 million

Harare  – The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) says it has so far paid out $427 million for grain deliveries and has implemented several remedial measures to speed up processing of payments due to farmers.

Zimbabwe recorded a bumper harvest across all major food crops following a good rain season as well as a command agriculture program in the 2016/17 cropping year.

GMB acting general manager Lawrence Jasi told Parliament that as of October 5, maize deliveries alone had reached 1 061 800 metric tons.

In terms of stocks, the GMB was now sitting on a total of 1 091 349 metric tons of maize as of Thursday last week, with more deliveries still expected.

Jasi said the sheer volume of deliveries, had resulted in the GMB failing to process payments timeously.

“In terms of payments we have since received a total of $427 million to pay for maize or cereal deliveries and also soya beans and the value of the crop we have received so far is $457 million,” he said.

“In the month of August alone we received close to 400 000 metric tons of maize and that also posed a challenge to expedite payments.”

The GMB buys maize at $390 per tonne.

Jasi said Treasury, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, was allocating money for grain purchases to the GMB every week.

Hence, he said, the GMB expected to clear outstanding payments due to farmers soon.

“What we have done is that we have acquired more computers, engaged a lot of staff, we are now on a 24 hour shift in terms of payments just to make sure that we address that situation. We appreciate that we lagged behind in terms of responding to the task ahead but we have taken measures to ensure we try to get our farmer payments up to date,” he said.

Weighing in on the issue of payments, Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development permanent secretary Ringson Chitsiko expressed confidence that the GMB would soon clear the payment backlog. – New Ziana

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