Farmers snub GMB


The majority of famers have stopped maize deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) because of the erratic payment system by the cash-strapped parastatal as it emerged that some farmers have not yet been paid for maize delivered last year.
The farmers have had to wait for as long as six months before they could be paid resulting in them being duped by unscrupulous “commodity brokers” paying less than GMB.
The delays in payment have reportedly resulted in some farmers failing to grow winter wheat and other crops because they do not have money to purchase inputs.
GMB is paying $265 while commodity brokers are offering $190 per tonne on the spot.
A Concession farmer Asa Kanyera said he delivered 10 tonnes of maize to the GMB last year but has not yet been paid.
A bitter Kanyere accused GMB of treating farmers unfairly.
He said most farmers were now stuck and could hardly do anything without payment for their produce.
“We are planting and harvesting for the GMB yet we are not receiving payment for our efforts. It demoralises farmers,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from GMB were fruitless yesterday.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union executive director, Paul Zakaria, yesterday said farmers were caught up in a difficult situation and have had to make tough choices.
Zakaria said although farmers should be paid on the spot for their deliveries, the situation was pathetic.
“It is a fact that GMB is broke. While their price is attractive we know it takes time for farmers to receive payment and this has in some instances jeopardised their operations,” he said.
Zakaria said given the prevailing environment, farmers should be prepared to exchange their produce for inputs such as fertilisers and chemicals which they could then convert to cash or use in the forthcoming farming season. Kanyera is one of the few farmers in the area who recorded a good harvest this year despite limited resources.
He reaped 250 tonnes of maize and 10 tonnes of sugar beans but was hesitant to take his produce to the GMB for fear of losing out again.
Another farmer Trymore Gomba said they were not amused by the GMB and called upon government to assist them.
“We feel robbed by the GMB and we need assistance to get our payment,” said Gomba.
Other farmers said they were now getting inputs from the GMB instead of cash, a development that worsened their financial position.