Farmers hail GMB early payments

Source: Farmers hail GMB early payments | The Herald July 4, 2016

Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
Farmers have welcomed efforts being made by Government to ensure the Grain Marketing Board pays for deliveries within a short period and said this would promote production of maize and boost food security. A number of farmers had been switching from maize to tobacco due to the favourable and organised marketing system in the tobacco sector. GMB used to take long to pay farmers, resulting in many selling to private buyers who pay cash, while others reduced the hectarage put under the crop.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa yesterday said, farmers had lost confidence in the parastatal, but if the early payments continue, deliveries will in- crease.

“GMB has the highest price. The price of $390 per tonne is viable considering our high costs, and absence of subsidies as is the case with our regional competitors. With this price, farmers are able to break even and go back to the field,” he said.

Mr Chabikwa said the improvement in the payment system was a positive development that would see many farmers growing the crop next season. “Payment within 14 days is a great improvement, compared to past seasons where farmers would wait for their money for many months.

“Farmers will be motivated by the new payment system and we hope it will continue to be improved and see farmers getting their money within a week or even cash instantly as is done in the tobacco sector,” he said.

Said Marondera farmer Mr Reuben Chipasho: “We want to grow maize and feed the nation, but the challenge is the poor market. If there is a lucrative market for a product, production will increase. See what has happened to tobacco. Almost every farmer wants to grow tobacco because you are guaranteed your money,” he said.

Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust president Mrs Depinah Nkomo said Government should not give farmers empty promises.