THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is waiting for government approval for a $51 million loan facility from China it applied for in February this year to mitigate ongoing challenges.
Report by Victoria Mtomba Business Reporter
Speaking at the launch of the $500 000 milling plant at Aspindale, secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Ngoni Masoka said the parastatal requires money to refurbish its silos, its fleet and upgrade its Information and Communication technology system.
GMB acting chairman Basilio Sandamu said negotiations for the loan facility began last year and still remains unapproved.
He said the parastatal had moved from a deficit position of $18 million in 2010 to a position where it will break even.
“We have done everything required by the Chinese company Avic, but because there is an agreement between our government and China, the money cannot be given to us without the authorisation from the Ministry of Finance,” said Sandamu.
He said the parastatal would be releasing its audited accounts soon as they have already been completed.
Sandamu said the parastatal was able to break even because the government managed to pay farmers on time and that improved GMB’s bottomline.
The company launched one of its four milling plants in Harare aimed at increasing productivity.
The company’s general manager Albert Mandizha said the new plant would increase GMB’s milling capacity to 5 000 metric tonnes per month from the current 3 500 metric tonnes.
“Our mandate as the Grain Marketing Board is to ensure national food security, so by increasing the production of the staple food product, mealie meal, it means that we haven’t lost the scope of our reason for existence. GMB will be launching another milling plant in Bulawayo next year,” Mandizha said.
The plant was installed by Hydraulic Equipment and Engineering, a local company, in conjunction with Roff of South Africa.