GMB appoints substantive CEO

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has appointed Dr Edson Badarai as the new substantive Grain Marketing Board (GMB) chief executive officer, effective 15 May.

Dr Badarai takes over from Mr Rockie Mutenha, who retired recently after being in charge of the organisation since May 2017.

Mr Mutenha was on a five-year contract, which was extended by another year, ending on March 31 this year.

The retirement was in compliance with the GMB retirement policy.

Following the retirement of Mr Mutenha, Mr Clemence Guta was acting CEO and his tenure began on April 1, 2023.

In a notice, GMB said: “The Board of Directors of Grain Marketing Board, with the approval of His Excellency the President, Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, has appointed Dr Edson Badarai as GMB Chief Executive Officer effective 15 May 2023.

“This was done in terms of the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act [Chapter 10:31].”

Dr Badarai has 18 years of leadership experience, with focus on strategic planning, business turnaround and transformation, performance management, monitoring and evaluation, financial management, work culture transformation, public administration and public sector reforms.

According to the parastatal, Dr Badarai experience and exposure covers various sectors of economy, having worked in the manufacturing sector, mining sector, commodities trading sector, fast foods, Central Government, State Owned Enterprises and Parastatals, an exposure that blends both private sector and public sector.

He holds a PhD in Business Administration from Free State University (South Africa), a Master of Science Degree in Strategic Management (Chinhoyi University of Technology) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) Degree in Accounting (NUST).

The main focus of his PhD was Transformational Leadership and Organizational Performance; while at Master’s Degree level, his research was on Innovation and Corporate Performance.

71 000ha cleared for wheat production

OVER 71 000 hectares have been cleared for wheat production as farmers race to meet Government’s target of putting at least 85 000ha under the strategic crop.

According to the latest Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development’s weekly report on winter wheat production, farmers have so far put 25 776ha under the cereal.

Last year, farmers produced a record 380 000 tonnes from about 80 000ha.

Government, however, has set a target of 408 000 tonnes this year.

To stimulate production, power utility ZESA has ring-fenced 120MW of electricity to ensure uninterrupted supply to wheat farmers for irrigation.

This season’s production is being supported by CBZ, AFC Bank, the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme, various private sector initiatives and self-funded farmers.

Permanent Secretary in the ministry Dr John Basera said May 31 was the deadline for planting wheat.

“We always tell farmers that best yields are obtained if they plant by May 31,” he said.

“The outlook is promising as farmers are busy in the field and inputs are being pushed to farmers to meet the deadline.

“The planted wheat is already ergonomically well-established.”

The authorities, he said, will deploy high-tech drones to help deal with migratory pests that threaten this year’s harvest.

“In terms of the migratory pests, especially qualia birds, which can be a menace, we are ready.

“As the Government, through the Migratory Pests Control Unit, we believe that we are ready,” he said.

“We will make use of drones and spray planes. So, we are working with the District Development Fund (now the Rural Infrastructure Development Agency) and even the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe so that they support us in that regard.”

Government, he added, had imported chemicals to spray the pests in their breeding nests.

“We have imported chemicals and we will continue importing more.

“We hit breeding sites before the winter wheat season and we are targeting low-lying areas like Chiredzi and others so that we suppress the qualia birds.

“We also have a rapid response team in place to respond to any reports of pest sightings.

“Farmers are encouraged to continue planting the crop as we are still within the planting window and follow good agronomic practices.”

He said all farmers with reliable water supply have an obligation to grow wheat.

Pfumvudza abusers will go to jail

Pfumvudza abusers will go to jail, no fine option Those selling or buying the agricultural inputs earmarked for the climate-proofed Presidential Inputs Scheme, Pfumvudza/Intwasa, will be sent to court where jail sentences can be imposed on conviction with admission of guilt fines at a police station not being an option.

The charges will be standard criminal charges of fraud, theft, unlawful possession and misrepresentation, and there is going to be a lot of co-operation between the police, the Grain Marketing Board and Agritex who are already digging into reports that some farmers are selling inputs and others are buying and trading in these.

At a media briefing on the distribution of Pfumvudza inputs held in Harare yesterday, GMB chief executive Mr Rockie Mutenha said as part of efforts to reduce cases of inputs fraud, the GMB will be issuing permits for movement of inputs.

GMB would work with police at road blocks to ensure that inputs reached the intended farmers. Anyone found without the relevant documents would have the inputs impounded.

“We are going to have road blocks so we will be working closely with law enforcement agents and we will issue movement permits for inputs.

“These inputs are given to farmers to produce crops not to sell. If you don’t have a piece of land and no use for the inputs, please don’t receive the inputs.

“They are meant for crop production and not for retail business.

“These are clear cases of theft and fraud,” he said.

Farmers were not supposed to pay for the transport of inputs since the inputs were being given to the farmers for free by the President.

GMB is responsible for contracting transporters. When a transporter moves inputs to a ward, they raise an invoice for GMB to pay them.

“We have heard incidents where some transporters and some local leaders are requesting farmers to pay for the inputs. The correct position is that transporters raise an invoice which is submitted to GMB,” said Mr Mutenha.

Speaking at the same briefing national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said anyone found selling and buying Presidential inputs would be arrested.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi “Presidential inputs are not for sale. Anyone found selling or buying these inputs will be arrested and we all urge the public to report such cases to any nearest police station. So far, no fines are accepted by police, these are serious cases of fraud so definitely all cases are taken to court,” he said.

Ass Comm Nyathi said they had arrested nine people across the country for abusing presidential inputs.

They are Allan Benzini (39), Christine Pfunde (47), Faith Ncube (50) and Rita Mathe (48) Tavonga Chikuni (18) Maizivei Themba (33) and Maizivei Gariyakumwe (43), Shylet Dumani (42) and Geogina Mandizha (39).

He said recently police in Plumtree recovered 18×30 kgs of compound D fertilisers, suspected to be Presidential farming inputs near Highgate Farm.

The fertilisers were abandoned in a bush by two unknown suspects who fled from the scene after a passer-by stopped as they were hiding the fertiliser in the bush.

Presidential inputs are expected to reach up to 3 million rural households targeting farmers in communal lands, A1 resettlement, peri-urban and old resettlement


GMB SHINES AT ZITF (ZITF photos with King Mswati) THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) shone like a beacon during the recently held Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) by bagging home a Gold Medal in one of the competitions.

The 63rd edition of the annual business and trade showcase was held between 25 and 29 April 2023 under the theme, “Continuous Innovation, Global Competitiveness”.

The GMB jointly participated with Silo Foods Industries (SFI) under the theme “GMB and SFI for continuous innovation towards agricultural growth”.

The GMB stand was a hive of activity as both local and foreign visitors trooped to see some of the innovations to be introduced by the parastatal such as the Smart Silos. The government through a partnership with the Government of Belarus have agreed to construct four Smart Silos at different GMB depots.

The first Smart Silos are scheduled to be constructed at GMB Kwekwe before the end of the year. Other depots earmarked for Smart Silos are Timbermills, Mhangura and Magunje.

Unlike the current silos which are highly manual and labour-intensive, the Smart Silos are highly automated and technology-driven making working smarter and easier.

A miniature model of the Smart Silos that was exhibited at the GMB stand was the major talking point during the trade showcase.

The young and the old, the rich and the poor, the local and the international (foreign) visitors all had a question or two about this latest innovation coming to GMB.

It was therefore befitting that the GMB walked to the winners podium to receive a trophy, Gold Medal and a Certificate after it was adjudged the Best Exhibitor under the Food Manufacturers category of the competitions.

GMB’s Acting Chief Executive, Mr Clemence Guta was on cloud nine saying the award was a Vote of Confidence by different stakeholders of GMB’s potential to be a significant player in the nation achieving the nation’s vision 2030.

“I am very excited to have come here in Bulawayo for ZITF and obviously winning. I hope we will continue winning and that will make us proud as an organisation,” said Mr Guta.

GMB’s board vice chairperson, Dr Henry Mushonga was also a happy man as he joined the exhibitors in celebrations and in some cases explained to visitors.

“This award comes at a time that we have been working so hard with my colleagues to have come all the way to receive this prestigious award by beating some of the most competitive institutions in the food sector category,” said Dr Mushonga.

He attributed the success of this year’s ZITF to teamwork.

Meanwhile, King Mswati III of Eswatini officially opened this year’s edition of the country’s biggest annual trade and business showcase.

Gvt announces new commodities producer prices


Government has announced floor producer prices for strategic commodities namely, maize, traditional grains, soya bean and sunflower for the 2023 marketing season.

The prices were announced in a joint statement by Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka and his Finance and Economic Development counterpart Professor Mthuli Ncube.

The two ministers also announced the pre-planting floor producer price for wheat for the 2023 winter season.

Farmers would be paid partly in US dollars cash and in local currency converted at the interbank rate.

In the statement, the ministers said a floor producer price of US$335 per tonne for maize would be paid to farmers by GMB as US$200 in foreign currency plus US$135 in local currency at the interbank rate of every Tuesday.

“A floor producer price of US$335 per metric tonne for traditional grains derived from the determined maize pre-planting floor producer price paid to farmers by GMB as US$200 in foreign currency plus US$135 in Zimbabwe dollars at the interbank rate of every Tuesday.

“The GMB maize and traditional grains price to millers will be US$368 per metric tonne paid as US$200 in foreign currency plus US$168 in Zimbabwe dollars at interbank rate of every Tuesday,” reads part of the statement.

For soyabean the floor producer price will be US$580 per metric tonne paid to farmers by GMB with US$348 in foreign currency plus US$232 in local currency at the interbank rate of every Tuesday.