Stop Order Facility for Command Agric Beneficiaries

Government has urged farmers and institutions that grew maize under the special maize import substitution programme (Command Agriculture) to register for a stop order facility with the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

Those caught side-marketing their produce will be blocked from participating in similar programmes.

The stop order system seeks to facilitate deductions for inputs that the beneficiaries received during the 2015-16 cropping season.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made urged the technical team in the ministry preparing the quantum taken by Command Agriculture beneficiaries to keep up its work so that GMB was able to double check the amount of inputs received by every beneficiary, including institutions.

“This will be the same situation as we go into the winter crop,” he said.

“Government will take measures against any farmers who do not comply.”

Dr Made urged GMB to move with speed when assisting millers purchasing grain from the parastatal to avoid challenges in the milling industry.

“GMB should not delay in loading grain for specific millers who signed an agreement with the parastatal,” he said. “There should not be unnecessary delays in meeting the legal obligations to the millers.”

Farmers have started harvesting maize produced under Command Agriculture, with others already delivering the maize to the GMB.

Beneficiaries of the programme are expected to deliver five tonnes per hectare to the GMB.

Zimbabwe is expecting a bumper harvest of 2,7 million tonnes of cereals of which 2,1 million tonnes are expected to come from maize, while the remaining 600 000 tonnes will come from small grains such as pearl millet, finger millet, rapoko and sorghum.

The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe will buy 800 000 tonnes of grain from GMB and has already availed $8 million, which will be used to rehabilitate storage facilities.

GMB has 85 depots across the country and has established 1 882 collection points countrywide to enable farmers to reduce transport costs when delivering their grain.

The parastatal has also started moving empty grain bags to depots and farmers would start collecting when all modalities have been put in place.

Farmers will buy the grain bags at 60 cents each through stop order.

Those who deliver the grain using the GMB bags will be refunded 40 cents per bag, which means they buy at 20 cents per bag.

Deputy Chief Secretary and Chairman of the Integrated Command Agriculture, Mr Justin Mupamhanga, yesterday advised participating farmers that the maize marketing season had started.

He said farmers contracted under Command Agriculture were expected to deliver maize to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

They are supposed to carry with them a completed and signed stop order form to facilitate cost recovery and early payment of grain delivered.

The farmers should collect their stop order form from AGRITEX district offices.

Mr Mupamhanga warned the farmers against side marketing of maize contracted under the Command Agriculture and those caught will be blacklisted.

Command Agriculture activities remain voluntary in both ways, from the Government perspective and individual farmers.

Farmers should put in place fireguards to protect their maize from veld fires and are supposed to protect their crops against post harvest losses.

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