GMB gets US$26m cash for maize

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CABINET has approved US$26 million to pay farmers for grain deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) in the short-term to boost grain reserves and guarantee food security.
Farmers are currently reluctant to deliver their produce as a result of failure by the GMB to pay producers on delivery.
The country has in the past suffered droughts which have affected output forcing the country to resort to costly imports.
However, last season, the country received good rains and various farmer support programmes ensured that every household produced and harvested a decent yield.
In an interview, Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Dr Joseph Made said the money was meant to encourage farmers to deliver to the GMB.
Farmers were selling their grain to stock feed manufactures and brewers who do not offer as much as the GMB, but pay instant cash.
The stipulated price of a tonne of maize is US$390 and private buyers are offering as low as US$190.
Already, the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) whose membership is made up of disgruntled former white farmers is releasing false reports that the country will experience a food crisis despite evidence to the contrary.
The reports began last year before crops had matured with the white commercial farmers’ effort to revive the imperialist agenda to discredit the successful Land Reform Programme.
They produced the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment report which stated that about 2, 2 million people would require food assistance between January and March 2014, but that has not been so.
And the white farmers continue to spread falsehoods giving the impression that agriculture in Zimbabwe has failed and that it requires their involvement to succeed.
Some sectors of the private media that sympathise with the former white farmers continue to publish misleading reports that the country will experience massive food shortages.
However, what is critical, according to pundits, is that Government ensures that maize is delivered to its depots around the country and guarantee food security.
“We have maize, many farmers in the country even some in Matabeleland successfully produced maize and if we are guaranteed payment on time we will deliver it to the GMB,” said a farmer from Macheke, Viola Chafesuka.
She said, “Government must become the buyer so that all the maize does not end up as stock-feed or in the hands of people that want to create artificial shortages.”
The Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) second vice-president Berean Mukwende said farmers had produced enough maize to meet national demand.
“We have enough food for consumption,” Mukwende said.
“Maybe imports would be for producing stock feeds if there is any need.”
Dr Made said the GMB will establish satellite depots to ensure that farmers in remote areas do not have difficulties delivering produce.
He said the satellite depots will ensure that the country has enough maize to meet national demand.
A report by the Ministry of Agriculture shows that the country produced enough maize.
The report shows that 1 456 153 tonnes of maize are available which is a positive increase from the 2012/2013 farming season which had 798 596 tonnes.
The season has recorded a surplus as the country’s consumption is 1 427 119 tonnes.
Combined with cereals the available food in the country stands at 1, 68 million tonnes.
Dr Made attributed the surge to the Presidential Inputs Scheme and the good rainfall which saw most families getting a bumper harvest.
“The Presidential Inputs Scheme has ensured that the family unit has adequate food supply and it is through such endeavours that the nation has managed to ensure total food security,” he said.
“Farmers who grow cash crops like tobacco are also growing food crops.”
Dr Made said the only crop facing challenges was cotton, but plans were underway to resuscitate the Cotton Marketing Board to improve cotton farming.
He said the bumper harvest was in line with the Food and Security Cluster under the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-ASSET).
According to the economic blueprint, Zim-ASSET, there is need to create a self- sufficient and food surplus economy and restore Zimbabwe as the bread basket of Southern Africa.
It seeks to build a prosperous, diverse and competitive food security and nutrition sector that contributes significantly to national development.
The cluster programmes are aligned to and informed by the Comprehensive African Agriculture Policy Framework (2012-2032),the Food and Nutrition Security Policy ,the Zimbabwe Agriculture Investment Plan (2013-2017),SADC and COMESA Food and Nutrition Frameworks.
The cluster matrix will see increased marketing and crop production.
This will be done through implementing measures such as availing Presidential Input Support Scheme for vulnerable groups and institute measures for all the beneficiaries of the Land Reform Programme to dedicate a certain quota to cereal and small grains production.

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