State moves to pay farmers early

Source: State moves to pay farmers early | The Sunday Mail June 5, 2016

Livingstone Marufu
Farmers have delivered over 25 000 tonnes of maize to the Grain Marketing Board this year although more still needs to be done to pay them on time, a senior Government official has said.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister (Crop Production and Mechanisation) Davis Marapira said, “We have held a number of meetings with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Treasury to make sure all farmers are paid within the stipulated period of seven days to 14 days. It’s no longer the GMB of yesterday, it’s now the GMB of today which pays its farmers in time to promote productivity.
“We paid US$7,2 million last week and we are working towards paying the remaining US$2,7 million and we would like to continue doing that. If this kind of dispensation continues, certainly maize and soya bean production will go up.
“With farmers’ deliveries at GMB depots, we are confident that the initial food requirement of 1,3 million tonnes from February to December will certainly go down by a significant percentage.”
Government has pegged the maize price at US$390 per tonne against the private buyers’ price of US$360.
The country needs about 1,3 million tonnes of maize from February until the end of the year, and 526 802 tonnes have been imported from Russia, Ukraine and Zambia to avert food shortages.
It is also understood that contracts for importation of 630 000 tonnes of maize were signed between the GMB and private suppliers. Of this, 129 000 tonnes of grain have so far been delivered.
Deputy Minister Marapira said 91 327 tonnes were available in the Strategic Grain Reserve and 63 000 tonnes had already been distributed under the drought mitigation programme.
The most drought-hit areas are Matabeleland South, Midlands, Masvingo and southern Manicaland.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation recently said crop and livestock production prospects in Southern Africa were weakened by the El Nino weather phenomenon that lowered rains and increased temperatures.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union principal director Mr Paul Zakaria said, “We are very happy to note that the late rains that we experienced across the country turned around the outcomes in some parts of Mashonaland East, West and Central.
“Those who planted between December 20 and January 15 this year saw their yields increasing by 60 percent as the late rains came at the right time to change farmers’ fortunes.
“We are pleased that our farmers can plant more maize in winter as most of our dams and water sources are 80 percent capacity due to the late rains.”