Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Money for GMB goes to civil servants

Money for GMB goes to civil servants

The Finance minister says the government has failed to pay farmers for 
produce they delivered to the GMB because money budgeted for that purpose 
has been diverted to bankroll the unbudgeted civil servants increase.
by Chief Reporter

Betty Chikava, Mt Darwin East MP, put Finance minister Tendai Biti on the 
spot in the House of Assembly after relentless State Press accusations that 
the MDC secretary general was refusing to pay farmers as a means of 
sabotaging agriculture.

Biti told the House of Assembly that under the 2011 grain procurement 
scheme, the government set a producer price of $285.00 per metric tonne this 
year, up from the $275.00 per metric tonne of last season.

Three problems

“However, we have had three problems. The first one is an obvious one, the 
problem of money and fiscal space,” Biti said. “As I reported in this House 
in July, our budget for the year 2011 is $2.7 billion. The budget of $2.7 
billion presupposes that we have to collect $229m per month, and as I 
reported in the first half of the year, there were only two months that we 
were able to exceed $200 million never mind $229million.

“Those were the months of March and June and these are the months that 
corporates/companies pay their corporate taxes. In July 2011, we had a 
salary increase of $260 million, which requires that the government has to 
find an additional $42 million per month, bringing the paradox and 
contradiction of increased expenditure on the basis of reduced revenue.”

Biti said when the government set the producer price of $285, Cabinet had 
agreed that payment to farmers would be made 10 days after delivery.

“But the tsunami of the $260 million then came, and in every country you 
must pay wages first, other wise you will have a civil commotion,” Biti 
said. “As I said in the mid-term statement, wages are now taking 67 percent 
of our expenditure which means that out of every $1 that we receive US$0.67c 
is going towards wages with US$0.33c going to hospitals and other budget 

Under pressure

Biti said he was under pressure from several sectors who all want money.

“The Minister of Health wants $33million from me because he wants to make 
user fees free, the minister of Agriculture wants $45million for the 
vulnerable sector, minister Mzembi wants $20 million to support the 
re-branding of Zimbabwe as he calls it – so there are numerous demands on 
the fiscus.

“Members of Parliament want motor vehicles and they also want CDF money. So 
all these need fiscal space, but we do not have fiscal space,” Biti said.

The Finance minister said Zimbabwe was the only country in Sub Saharan 
Africa, which does not have direct donor assistance.

“We therefore have to deal with our debt question,” he said.

Zimbabwe owes more than $7billion to Bretton Woods institution that has 
precluded the country from accessing lines of credit. But Biti said he had 

“We have agreed on the following: we owe farmers $35 million and we paid $10 
million last week, but because we realised that rains are going to be early 
this year, we are in the process of gathering inputs, seed and fertilizer 
that is going to the Grain Marketing Board to the tune of $30m. This will 
enable the farmer to swap his

payment with the available seed and fertilizer,” Biti told the House of 

Price distortions

Biti said price distortions were also to blame for the current scenario.

“Made (Agriculture minister), you are to blame for continuing to set 
producer prices of maize,” Biti said. “The price that the GMB is selling is 
$285 per metric tonne, Malawi has overproduced and has surplus of 700 000 
metric tonnes of maize, Zambia 400 000 metric tonnes, Republic of South 
Africa has 9 million metric tonnes surplus,

though part of it is GMO. The region has got surplus. What is happening is 
that you can buy maize from Malawi or anywhere between $175 to $190. So now 
makoronyera nemagumaguma are importing maize from neighbouring countries. We 
do not have a mechanism of preventing that cheap imported maize going to 
GMB, so as government we need to revisit our systems.”

Biti said the second problem was that when millers go to the GMB to buy 
maize, GMB is selling maize at $325 per tonne.

“So you will be made to buy maize at $325 per tonne when you can import it 
at $190. GMB is now sitting at huge maize stocks which it can not sell to 
anyone, yet the government is just buying and buying. So we need major 
policy reviews,” he said.

Chikava insisted that Biti must pay the farmers in cash and not in farming 


New Posts: