The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has moved to pay farmers at the shortest possible time to preserve value for grain farmers whose proceeds were fast depreciating from the devaluing local currency.
This year farmers have so far delivered close to 30 000 tonnes of maize to GMB against 18 500 tonnes delivered as of end of May last year.
GMB corporate communications manager Muriel Zemura told Business Times that maize farmers are as important as other farmers hence should be paid instantly.
“We are surprised that farmers are delivering the maize at this swift
rate, given intense dry spells that have stalked us the past summer
cropping season,” Zemura said.
“The deliveries are so far way better than last year and this may be attributable to fast payment of farmers within 48 hours and constant reviewing of maize prices.”
She said in some instances some farmers are receiving payment
within 24 hours.
GMB had gazetted the price of maize to ZWL$12 000 and later reviewed it to above ZWL$16 000 to keep up with the inflationary environment.
The grain marketing board said it shall continue reviewing maize to
lure farmers to sell to the state.
Economic analysts said the Covid-19 pandemic has restricted most middlemen from travelling to buy maize directly from farmers.
GMB has increased collection points to make transportation easier.
Economists said the deliveries will soon drop as maize is scarce
across the country and is not likely to surpass close to 500 000 tonnes
achieved last year.
According to the World Food Programme, close to 8m Zimbabweans are starving.
To date, Treasury has released over ZWL$300m to purchase local maize. Last year, GMB had a 14 day period to pay farmers and this year it has changed due to the hyperinflationary environment.
According to Second Crop and Livestock Assessment report most
drought-hit areas are Matabeleland South, Midlands, Masvingo, and
Zimbabwe requires 1.8m tonnes of cereal for human and livestock
consumption and with an estimated harvest of around 600 000 tonnes,
the authorities are likely to import 1.2m tonnes.
According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the country is spending over US$500m on cereal importation.
Most African countries were ravaged by El Nino induced drought and will import maize from Argentina and Brazil.