23 May 2014

Zimbabwe: Don't Sell to GMB, Minister Tells Farmers

THE government is encouraging farmers to sell their maize to private buyers as the government's Grain Marketing Board (GMB) does not have funds to buy the crop.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Paddy Zhanda told parliament Wednesday that the state-owned enterprise had to date not been allocated funds to procure maize because of the government's financial constraints.

"There was no allocation for the GMB to buy maize in the budget. We are looking at various ways of raising money," Zhanda said.

The minister said the GMB was not in the market to compete with private buyers but as buyer of last resort.

"If you have to sell to the GMB you have to be prepared to wait in the queue to be paid," he said.

Zhanda said the government had set the buying price at US$390 per tonne this season as a benchmark to farmers who wanted to sell their maize to private buyers.

The GMB is responsible for acquiring 500 metric tonnes of maize for the country's strategic grain reserve.

Zimbabwe requires at least 2.5 million tonnes of maize annually.

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