Elita Chikwati–Senior Agriculture Reporter
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has so far, paid $25 billion to farmers for deliveries during the 2021 marketing season.
GMB still owes farmers $1,79 billion.
The parastatal has received over 733 000 tonnes of grain from farmers valued at $26,9 billion as deliveries continue.
A number of farmers had been complaining over delays in payments.
Some farmers complained that they were lagging behind in terms of summer cropping preparations due to delays in payment.
GMB chief executive Mr Rockie Mutenha yesterday urged farmers to deliver their crop as payments were on course.
He said some delays could have been caused by some banks, but the majority of farmers received their money soon after the Heroes holiday.
The GMB gets money from Treasury every week for grain purchases.
“We have received 733 532 tonnes of maize from farmers compared to 116 671 tonnes during the same period last year. Farmers have also delivered 75 689 tonnes of traditional grains up from the 3 677 tonnes sold to the GMB during the corresponding period last year.
“So far we have paid $25,1 billion to farmers and we still owe $1,79 billion. We paid farmers soon after the holiday and I am sure by now most farmers have received their money,” he said.
Treasury allocated $60 billion to the GMB to buy the maize and traditional grains from farmers.
The parastatal is paying $32 000 per tonne for maize and $38 000 per tonne of traditional grains.
GMB is expecting up to 1,8 million tonnes of grains from farmers.
The country attained a bumper harvest, the highest yield in 20 years as a result of the normal to above normal rainfall received during the 2020/21 farming season.
According to the Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, final Crop and Livestock Assessment Report, cereal production is estimated at 3 075 538 tonnes against a national cereal requirement of 1 797 435 tonnes for human consumption and 450 000 tonnes for livestock.
A surplus of over 820 000 tonnes of cereals is expected this season.