GMB to pay $2,7bn to farmers: Wheat price to be announced next week

23 Sep, 2022 - 00:09 0 Views
GMB to pay $2,7bn to farmers: Wheat price to be announced next week Dr Anxious Masuka

The Chronicle

Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT has reiterated its commitment to timeous payment of farmers for grain deliveries with the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) expected to clear $2,7 billion outstanding payments this week amid indications that a lucrative 2022/2023 wheat price is set to be announced next week.

As at 6 September 2022, GMB had received 127 835 tons of maize from farmers with traditional grains sitting at 24 026 tons, according to GMB chief executive, Mr Rockie Mutenha. Due to climate change factors, this year’s harvest is lower when compared to last year’s and the Government has put in place measures to curb side marketing.

Grain Marketing Board (GMB)

Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka, said incentivising farmers was critical hence measures have been put in to ensure timeous payment for commodity producers.

In that regard, he said outstanding payments are now less than seven days, which is a massive departure from the past when farmers would go for months or more than a year awaiting payments.

“In previous years, GMB would go for months to years without paying farmers. Over the past two years, the Government has endeavoured to pay farmers timeously, and GMB as of today (Wednesday), the outstanding amounts are less than seven days old,” said Dr Masuka during question time in Parliament.

“GMB intends to pay the $2.7 billion that is outstanding to farmers for grain delivered before the end of the week,” he added.
The minister said under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe was determined to scale up agricultural production to ensure import substitution for key industrial raw materials. This has seen the private sector availing funds for various national projects.

“We also have the private sector coming on board to finance farmers and we are looking at value chain financing as a way of assuring the 40 percent raw material supply to those contractors as per Government policy,” he said.

“So, we are very prepared for this season and for those Government supported schemes, we have now started the rolling out for Intwasa/Pfumvudza, which has gone extremely well over 1.7 million households as of yesterday (Tuesday).”

Riding on the successful and historic performance of the winter cropping season that saw 80 000 hectares placed under wheat, and predicting 385 000 metric tons, which is a record for the country, Dr Masuka said there is a need to build on that momentum.

To scale up preparedness, he said four financing arrangements have been put in place.

“The first is those who fail to self-finance themselves and the second one and most popular and wide ranging is the Presidential Climate Proofed Input Scheme for Pfumvudza traditional grains, maize and also for cotton,” said Dr Masuka.

Pfumvudza/Intwasa

“We are going to support 3.5million households for Pfumvudza/Intwasa; 500 000 of these would be peri-rural rather than peri-urban. Then the third one is where we are looking at the Government guaranteed schemes for commercial agriculture being financed via AFC and CBZ.

“Again, we expect a very good performance because they are marshalling the resources that are required to enable them to finance farmers.”

The minister indicated that the Government is resuscitating AFC Land Bank, which has been capacitated to finance at least 65 000ha of commercial agriculture.

“Over and above this, AFC has received Government guarantees worth or equivalent to US$156 million to enable them to finance agriculture in the 2022-2023 agricultural season,” he said.

Recently, AFC Holdings officials revealed that the bank has established a one stop shop where farmers have access to finance, inputs, leasing and mechanisation services under one roof.

AFC has also been very innovative in coming up with a new payment model where farmers can do barter trade allowing the tendering of crop produce as a form of payment.

Agribank

Formerly the Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe (Agribank), AFC last year underwent rebranding and restructuring into the Land Bank to support the agricultural growth plan aimed at ensuring food security. Some of the divisions it has are Land bank, commercial bank, insurance and leasing of farm equipment arm.

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