via LATEST: Gvt urged to recapitalise GMB | The Herald March 4, 2014
Government has been urged to re-capitalise the Grain Marketing Board to ensure an attractive producer price is paid to farmers on time in the 2014 grain marketing season, which starts in April.
This follows projections by farmers of high maize yields this season.
The organisations said the high yields would be put to waste if GMB did not have the capacity to buy and pay farmers instantly.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa on Monday said the major incentive for farmers to produce food crops was for the GMB to pay instantly.
He said GMB had a good price of US$378 per tonne but its failure to pay quickly forced farmers to switch to other crops, like tobacco.
“GMB should be able to absorb the grains produced by farmers. Private buyers will only take advantage of farmers and offer unviable prices. Many cash buyers are offering prices below US$250 per tonne.”GMB should also be in a position to buy small grains to promote production,” said Mr Chabikwa.
Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust president Mrs Depinah Nkomo said GMB should source funds now instead of waiting for farmers to deliver grain.
“Farmers should be able to buy inputs for the following season after selling their maize. But this has not been the situation as the GMB takes several months before paying farmers,” she said.
Agriculture economist Mr Midway Bhunu said Government and the private sector could partner to revamp the parastatal.
“What farmers want is a good price that is paid instantly. Commodity brokers will rip off farmers.
“Government and millers can come up with grain bills to mobilise funds to buy grain from farmers. GMB has vast infrastructure which will also benefit the private sector in case of a partnership,” he said.
GMB is funded by Treasury and has failed to raise money on its own through commercial ventures.