via AMA struggles to pay farmers – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 18, 2015 by Veneranda Langa
The Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) has secured funds to pay just half of the maize delivered to GMB by farmers, further derailing the current farming season, it has emerged.
AMA chief executive officer Rockie Mutenha yesterday appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture and Irrigation Development.
He said the authority raised $53,6 million after floating grain bills through CBZ for payment of grain deliveries.
Mutenha said the amount raised could only pay for half of the grain delivered.
He said AMA has since floated other grain bills to raise the balance of $47 million required to pay the remaining farmers.
“The bills which will mature in June attracted a lot of grain deliveries of 222 000 metric tonnes by farmers and the money we had raised managed to pay for slightly above 50% of the grain delivered, and there was a balance outstanding of $47 million supposed to be paid to farmers for maize deliveries,” he said.
Mutenha they had since floated another grain bill of $50 million to mature in September.
The committee chaired by Mbire MP David Butau said non-payment for the delivered grain would disturb the new agricultural season as farmers would not be able to purchase seed, fertilisers and other inputs.
Proportional prepresentation MP Tsitsi Gezi (Zanu PF) suggested that maybe AMA should lobby for a price higher than $390 per tonne of maize to compensate for the losses to be incurred by the unpaid farmers.
“When we recommend prices to government we look at the cost of production, the price of imported maize – because when we buy maize from farmers it is sold to millers.
“The price of maize from Zambia is $290 and millers would say our maize is expensive and the cost will affect consumers. We will end up promoting Zambian farmers and our own maize will not have any market,” Mutenha said.
He said AMA had also recommended to government to reduce imports of farm produce that can be produced locally.
Maxwell Chikana, the AMA director of production and operations, said they were also planning to float $5 million for slaughter of CSC cattle stock to increase capacity utilisation at the company.
But, Bindura North MP Kenneth Musanhi (Zanu PF) queried if they had enough stock to slaughter, adding the slaughter facilities were also dilapidated.
“Over the years we have seen proliferation of abattoirs coming to compete with CSC and after dollarisation they failed to raise funding to go out and buy animals for slaughter.
“We want to see CSC going to the market to purchase animals, feed them and then slaughter them so that the funds raised can repay the bills,” Chikana said.