Grain deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board for the 2016 /17 farming season have tripled to 450 000 tonnes compared to the corresponding period, a senior Government has said. Farmers started delivering maize to the GMB in April. Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development (Crop production) Deputy Minister Davis Marapira told The Herald Business that payments are made within the period of seven days.
"As of today (yesterday) farmers have delivered a total of 450 000 tonnes of maize to GMB with most of them having received their money through bank accounts and mobile payments.
"This year we have moved our payments to seven days from 14 days last year. I can assure our farmers that they will get their money within the stipulated time. "There is a great improvement from last year as we would have received 450 000 tonnes this year compared to 145 000 tonnes last year, which means the deliveries have tripled due to the good rains and implementation of the Command Agriculture Scheme."
About $175,50 million has been paid to the farmers.
Government has pegged the maize price at $390 per tonne against the private buyers' price of $360.
Stakeholders in the Command Agriculture Scheme have raised $450 million for grain purchases with payment being done via Treasury for transparency purposes.
The Agriculture Marketing Authority also secured $62 million while millers came up with $312 million to buy 800 000 tonnes.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said they were happy that the country has adequate food requirements this year and that farmers are being paid on time.
"In terms of payments, so far the majority of those who are delivering are getting paid within the stipulated time.
The country needs about 1,8 million tonnes of maize for both human and livestock consumption annually.
The country is expected to make a saving of over $200 million on its import bill since there will be no grain imports after the success of the Command Agriculture programme.
Some farmers are realising a good return per hectare due to favourable rains and availability of resources.
There are some small-scale farmers getting seven tonnes per hectare which is a good sign to the Government and financiers of the programme.
Authorities have set up purchase points across all districts to ensure swift transactions.
Satellite depots were put up in remote areas to ensure that farmers do not travel long distances.
One hundred and ninety-five combine harvesters were secured to assist those with big hectarages under Command Agriculture Scheme.