The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has fully paid farmers who delivered wheat to its depots during the 2020-21 marketing season.
Farmers delivered 157 000 tonnes of wheat this season, 3 000 tonnes shy of the targeted 160 000. This is an increase from the 60 641 tonnes that were delivered same period last season.
Wheat farmers had delivered their crop to GMB depots across the growing areas but the parastatal was having payment challenges.
Some farmers said the late payment had the capacity to scuttle their preparations for the 2020/21 season while others argued that the lucrative price announced by Government was not going to be viable due to the delays in payments.
GMB chief executive, Mr Rockie Mutenha, yesterday said they had paid all farmers who had sold wheat to the GMB. “The GMB is pleased to announce that all the wheat delivered during the 2020/21 marketing season has now been fully paid for.
“About 69 percent of the wheat achived a premium grade whilst the balance fell into utility grade,” he said.
Mr Mutenha said they received money from Treasury and also sold some wheat to millers to pay farmers.
GMB was buying wheat at $11 786 per tonne of utility grade and $14 143 for premium.
Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos said he was happy wheat farmers had received their payments.
“I am so happy that we have now fully paid off our farmers and at such an attractive price that really rewards them for all their efforts whilst showing that farming is really a business and can certainly be a very lucrative one,” he said.
Deputy Minister Haritatos said the 2020/2021 wheat season was a great success as there was a threefold increase in wheat production as compared to last season’s production.
“With the large amount of rains that we are currently experiencing, I am even more optimistic that we will surpass this past season’s production in the upcoming winter season. This year we received the majority of premium grade wheat which is a great accomplishment.
“Government through our Grain Mobilisation and Distribution Ministerial Committee prioritised the payment of wheat to our farmers and I am so happy that we have now fully paid off our farmers and at such an attractive price,” he said.
Deputy Minister Haritatos expressed gratitude to farmers for their continuous dedication and support especially during these trying times of the Covid-19 pandemic when they have been classified as essential service providers.
The 2020 winter wheat cropping season registered a remarkable improvement after the implementation of the Agriculture Recovery Plan to boost production.
This saw the wheat harvest expanded dramatically to a record nine months’ supply, putting Zimbabwe within a season or two of self-sufficiency for the first time in a long time.
Interventions included early distribution of inputs, announcement of a pre-planting producer price, uninterrupted supply of electricity and water for irrigation, contract farming, stakeholder coordination, assurance of combine harvesters and boost of extension services through capacitation of staff.
The GMB was given a mandate to develop self sustaining financing mechanism for purchase and sale of grain ahead of the 2020/21 summer marketing season and creating a robust and sustainable financial base for the GMB by the 2022/23 summer marketing season.