15 July 2014

Zimbabwe: Maize Deliveries to GMB Rise 231percent

MAIZE deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board have risen 231 percent since the beginning of the 2014 marketing season in April, a senior Government official said.

Farmers have so far delivered just over 40 000 tonnes of the grain to the GMB up from about 12 000 in the same period last year, secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development Mr Ringson Chitsiko said in statement.

Maize output is expected to reach one million tonnes this year, a 30 percent increase for last year's production, according to earlier crop assessment by the Government.

Price per tonne is pegged at $390 including for small grains such as sorghum, millet and rapoko.

By end of May, Government had provided $4,6 million for grain procurement and payments will be done within two months of delivery or earlier through CBZ and Agribank.

"Treasury must be commended for resource mobilisation towards grain procurement given the country's competing needs against the backdrop of liquidity crunch."

"There are still some outstanding payments for the previous season totalling $1,7 million and the Treasury is making efforts to provide for these outstanding payments."

The Agricultural Marketing Authority has issued bills to raise $55 million to buy grain this season.

The AMA Bills, which have one year tenure, will yield an annual interest of 10,5 percent.

During the 2013-2014 marketing season, GMB faced several challenges that included shortage of grain storage bags, poor storage infrastructure and transport logistics.

The GMB also experienced very limited liquidity compounded by delays in receipts from Treasury.

Mr Chitsiko said GMB will no longer be accepting maize from grain traders "bent of fleecing farmers of their hard earned money."

"This is line with the ZimAsset policy which seeks to empower local farmers.

"In this regard farmers are encouraged to deliver their maize and small grains directly to the GMB depots," said Mr Chitsiko.

He added that GMB employees are not allowed to purchase grain for resale to GMB.

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