Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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GMB receives 11 500 tonnes of maize

GMB receives 11 500 tonnes of maize

gmbElita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
Farmers have delivered 11 582 tonnes of maize to the Grain Marketing Board amid reports that private buyers are hoarding the commodity in anticipation of a shortage on the local market.

By July last year, the parastatal had received 40 000 tonnes of maize.

Many farmers are, however, reluctant to sell their grain to the GMB this season due its failure to pay on time.

GMB acting general manager Mr Lawrence Jasi yesterday said the parastatal, which is responsible for the national strategic grain reserve, had set a target to buy 100 000 tonnes of maize from farmers.

“By June 18, a total of 11 582 tonnes of maize had been delivered to the GMB. Government is mobilising funds through Treasury to pay the farmers,” he said.

The GMB has been experiencing challenges in paying farmers as the company relies on money released by Treasury. Most farmers who delivered their maize to the GMB last season are yet to be paid with others demanding back their grain.

Last season, farmers delivered 255 519 tonnes of maize to GMB depots valued at $101, 8 million by December 19.

To date, Government has disbursed $57,6 million to GMB for payment to farmers for the grain delivered including $8,2 million for grain delivered during the previous season.

Of the $57,6 million paid by Government, $51,5 million was raised through the issuance of Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) bills with the balance being paid from fiscal resources.

Government still owes $52,4 million to farmers for grain delivered to its depots. The parastatal is now leasing its silos to willing operators.

Mr Jasi said although the company had not received funding to rehabilitate the silos, it was leasing space to private operators.

“GMB has so far leased a capacity of 25 000 tonnes to third parties. Funds for rehabilitation of silos have not yet been availed. However, scheduled plant maintenance and water proofing, which are supposed to be done every 10 years, are carried out as funds become available. Water proofing and maintenance have been carried out at Aspindale, Banket and Norton depots.

“About 70 percent of our silo bins are still usable and extra care is taken on the maize especially in the rainy season,” he said.

Meanwhile, private traders are hoarding maize in anticipation of a shortage on the market, according to a report by the Stockfeeds Manufacturers Association.

They are buying the crop for between $300 and $310 per tonne.

The report accuses the traders of building up stock in anticipation of a looming shortage and an increase in prices.

“There is a big difference between the import parity price and what farmers are willing to accept. The market has shifted and those who have the ability to store might do so in anticipation of the looming shortage and increase in prices. The market is also quite volatile with contracts of $340 per tonne to $350 per tonne,” says the report.

“There are not enough stocks in Zimbabwe to satisfy requirements and there is still quite a lot of maize around (but) the situation will not last. The general feeling is that all maize will start to run dry in August,” read the report.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe president, Mr Wonder Chabikwa said there would be a shortage of grain this season as the country expected 700 000 tonnes against a national requirement of 1,8 million tonnes for human and livestock consumption.

“Farmers are likely to get good commodity prices this season since there is a shortage,” he said.


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