GMB moves to clear outstanding farmer debts

WITH the 2024 crop marketing season now silhouetted against the horizon, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has moved to settle 93 and 41 percent of outstanding farmers’ payments in local and foreign currency respectively as Treasury continues to mobilise funds to clear the remaining debts.In a recent press release, GMB advised all stakeholders that they had made significant progress in paying farmer for last season’s summer and winter crop intakes.

“To date, payments amounting to $157 billion and US$27, 2 million have been made for both summer crops and winter wheat deliveries. Treasury is accelerating mobilisation of financial resources to clear outstanding balances of $12, 3 billion and US$39 million,” the GMB chief executive officer Dr Edison Badarai said.

He said GMB sincerely apologised for delayed payments to its committed and resilient farmers who are steering the agriculture’s transformation, food self-sufficiency and food security.

GMB depot

Zimbabwe National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Mrs Monica Chinamasa was, however, not amused saying some farmers had not been paid for the wheat they delivered in October last year and were accruing interests from service providers.

“It’s disheartening to note that though farmers delivered their produce to GMB last year, they are still to be paid their dues. The farmers failed to execute their preparations for this summer season due to lack of funds and to add salt to injury, they are now incurring interest charges for services they received. Electricity bills from the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) and water bills from the Zimbabwe Water Authority (ZINWA) keep ballooning due to monthly interests being levied on them, yet the farmers’ money is being held somewhere,” she said.

Food Crop Contractors Association (FCCA) chairperson Mr Graeme Murdoch concurred saying the delay in farmer payments, particularly for wheat, had a negative impact on farmer viability and ability to properly fund their summer crops.

“There is also the knock-on effect of farmers not being able to pay creditors for inputs supplied or to pay ZESA and ZINWA,” said the FCCA chair.

He said it was important for farmers to plan the marketing of their summer crops accordingly and accept that the GMB might face delays in making payments.

GMB must pay what is due to farmers urgently. They need that money to retool and continue farming, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) president Dr Shadreck Makombe said.
“We hope plans being discussed by the Government and AFC Holdings to fund this season’s crop marketing materialise. This will ensure that farmers are paid on time and aid in their planning for winter or summer activities,” added Dr Makombe.

Last season, Government set the wheat marketing price at US$520, 25 per tonne payable under the split formula of 75 percent in foreign currency and 25 percent in local currency at the interbank rate. The farmers get US$390, 19 in foreign currency plus US$130, 06 in local currency at the interbank rate of every Tuesday of the week.

Maize and traditional grain producer prices were also set at US$335 per tonne, with a split payment of US$200 in foreign currency plus US$135 in local currency at the ruling interbank rate. For soya bean, the floor producer price was US$580 per tonne with farmers getting US$348 in foreign currency plus US$232 in local currency at the ruling interbank rate. For sunflower, the floor producer price was US$696 per tonne and farmers received US$418 in foreign currency plus US$278 in local currency at the interbank rate.


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