THE Grain Marketing Board has opened its doors for the 2022 grain marketing season after Government availed an initial ZWL52 billion to ensure timely payments to farmers. This comes as some farmers have started harvesting their maize crop, although most deliveries are expected to start at the end of the month or early May. Farmers will pocket ZWL58 553 for a tonne of maize, ZWL70 264 for a tonne of traditional grains and ZWL125 530 for a tonne of soyabeans.
GMB is also paying ZWL150 686 for a tonne of sunflower. In an interview with The Sunday Mail, GMB acting chief executive officer Mr Clemence Guta said they expect to start receiving early deliveries from farmers tomorrow. “Our year end was 31 March 2022 and we had a stock take from that date to 4 April 2022 and we are now open for intake. Because of the late rains at the start of last season we are expecting to start receiving intake in the week beginning 11 April 2022. “We are waiting for the second crop assessment to ascertain our expected intake but provisionally we have set aside a budget of ZWL52 billion,” he said.
Mr Guta said all 87 GMB depots will be open from Monday to Friday but could also open on weekends, depending on quantities delivered by farmers. He encouraged farmers to apply for GMB Farmer Cards, which are full Know Your Customer (KYC) accounts, for seamless payments from the national granary. He said mobile buying points were currently being set up so that farmers do not travel long distances to deliver their grains. “The bumper harvest we had last season gave us a window to clean up our database of low KYC accounts because payments would only go through after upgrading and correcting the accounts,” said Mr Guta.
He added that GMB is constantly educating farmers on the benefits of delivering grain directly to the grain utility. Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) director Mr Paul Zakariya said: “It shows that Government is proactive. Farmers have started harvesting and drying so it is always good to take your grain to a market that is ready and paying on time,” he said. Mr Zakariya said deliveries to GMB would increase towards the end of this month. “We expect deliveries to increase at the end of April because some farmers are still drying their crop but for those who have drying facilities they can speed up the process and deliver earlier,” he said.