Friday, October 14, 2011

(HERALD) GMB still owes farmers US$40 million

GMB still owes farmers US$40 million
Friday, 14 October 2011 00:00
Obert Chifamba

THE Grain Marketing Board still owes farmers US$40 million for maize delivered to its depots in the 2010/11 marketing season. In an interview yesterday, GMB general manager Mr Albert Mandizha said despite the parastatal having paid US$27,4 million to farmers so far, there was need for treasury to urgently mobilise more funding to pay farmers for grain that was delivered after July to now.

"The rain season is upon us and farmers badly need that money to do their preparations, which they should have completed by now if we had paid them in time.
"Last week the Finance Ministry released US$10 million, which we immediately sent to all our depots for the payment of grain that was delivered from the start of the marketing season to July 15 this year," he said.

When The Herald visited Banket GMB depot yesterday, scores of farmers were waiting for their payments, which they said had been overly delayed.

A farmer from Hunyani Farm, Tapiwa Bemba, said he had delivered his maize in July but had not received his payment.

"Their service here is very slow.

"We have been here since morning and they have put us into groups of 20 but only seven people have been served from the first batch of 20 since morning," he complained.

A GMB employee at the depot who requested not to be named said under the latest funding, they had received money enough to pay only 285 farmers and were only paying those that delivered grain between the start of the marketing season and July 15.

"We are only paying those farmers who delivered five tons and below. Those who delivered anything above five tons are getting their payments from their provincial depots.
"They were asked to submit their banking details so that they would receive their payments through their banks," he said.

The depot general manager was reported to be away attending a meeting in Chinhoyi.
Recently, Cabinet ordered Treasury to immediately release US$40 million to buy inputs and recapitalise the Grain Marketing Board to pay farmers for grain delivered.

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