Govt holds grain farmers hostage

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Grain Marketing Board (GMB)

BY PRIVELEDGE GUMBODETE
GOVERNMENT has ordered all maize, soya bean, wheat and barley farmers to deliver their produce to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) within 14 days of harvesting as food shortages loom.

In a Press statement yesterday, GMB said maize, soya beans, wheat and barley were controlled products in terms of Statutory Instrument Grain Marketing, adding that farmers should apply for exemption to retain a portion of their agricultural produce.

“The GMB wishes to advise all farmers that maize, soya beans, wheat and barley are controlled products in terms of the following Statutory Instruments: Statutory Instrument 145 Grain Marketing (Control of Sale of Maize) Regulations, 2019 Statutory Instrument 97 Grain Marketing (Control of Sale of Soya Beans) Regulations, 2021. Statutory Instrument 188 Grain Marketing (Control of Sale of Wheat and Barley) Regulations, 2021,” the statement reads.

“All farmers or producers of controlled products are required to deliver the product to any nearest GMB depot within 14 days of harvesting. Farmers/producers, who intend to retain a portion of the product, shall apply for exemption from GMB.”

The statement follows warnings by humanitarian agencies that the country faces hunger following poor harvests.

Estimates by the agencies put the figure of food insecure people at five million.

GMB said farmers, producers and contractors were now required to apply for a movement permit before transporting their agricultural produce or risked prosecution.

“Trading in controlled products (buying or selling) without authority of the GMB is an offence. All storers, millers, stock feeders and any other users of controlled products are required to register with the GMB before engaging in such business,” the statement added.

“GMB shall be enforcing the above statutory instruments to ensure compliance. Those found in breach of the regulations risk prosecution, forfeiture of the grains and a fine three times the selling price of the controlled product.”

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