Three-day input distribution window for GMB

GOVERNMENT has instructed the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to distribute farming inputs within three days of receiving them at its depots, while politicians should stay away from the transportation process as this is funded by Treasury up to ward level. This was said by Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka during a tour of agricultural projects in Binga, Matabeleland North, yesterday. The minister has been conducting a nationwide tour, engaging farmers about the challenges they are experiencing during the summer cropping season.

Speaking at the GMB Binga Depot, Dr Masuka said the parastatal should fast-track inputs distribution. “At most we expect that inputs should be distributed within 72 hours. We can’t withhold inputs here, especially because of climate change. Every day that we lose in terms of delayed distribution is a day lost in the season,” said Dr Masuka. He said the Presidential Inputs are well funded and all costs related to their distribution are catered for, so no citizen, including politicians, should get involved in the process. “Once the inputs come to GMB, we have included for the first time in the Presidential Inputs Programme that no Member of Parliament and no councillor pays for the inputs (transportation) and no household pays for the inputs (transportation).

The inputs have been paid for up to ward level delivery,” he said. “The Presidential Input Programme is not Minister Masuka’s programme, it is not the councillor, it is not central committee, it is not Agritex and it is not GMB’s programme. It is two people; the President and the household. The rest of us are facilitating the programme.” Dr Masuka said titles of GMB officials have been changed to fit within the new thrust of the parastatal. “GMB should not be a depot and this is why we have changed their titles. They are no longer depot managers because they are confined by the fence in their thinking. They are supply chain managers; supply chain receiving on behalf of the President, accounting for the inputs and ensuring that the inputs have been distributed to the wards. That is based on the list that comes from Agritex,” said Dr Masuka

He said politicians can only get involved in monitoring whether inputs are fairly distributed and reach the intended targets. Dr Masuka said his ministry has created a national database for farmers and would use it to assess the challenges they face. “What we have done this year is that almost all Agritex officers have been given a motorbike, each one of them has been given a tablet, which is linked to a satellite and the satellite is linked to my office. They must as a first thing go to each household and ensure that they have trained them on Pfumvudza/Intwasa and then enrol them into the platform so that they are listed as having been trained,” said Dr Masuka.

“Why do we want to do that? Should we want to know a farming area, we can phone the household to ask if they received inputs on time and we will be doing that, so that we improve how we do things internally as a ministry.” The Government also expects each farmer to plant sunflower as part of the import substitution scheme. He said he’d been informed that the farming season had been delayed in almost the whole Matabeleland North province. “Yesterday we had the Agritex provincial head (Mr Dumisani Nyoni) giving us an overview of the province and largely indicating that they are behind with all cropping programmes and we were saying that is climate change.

But climate change or not, Zimbabweans need to farm. So, we must come up with programmes that will enable us under those circumstances to be able plant and harvest enough to feed the nation. “The farmer cropping season is very late and we are visiting to try and see the communal farmers under the Presidential Input Programme on the ground, and also visiting to see progress with A1 resettlement and A2 planting. By sharing experience, we will be able to provide feedback to the various principals. “We are here to appreciate the input supply situation, the receipt and distribution of inputs, in particular AN (fertiliser) and sunflower seed,” Dr Masuka said.


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