Farmers decry GMB late payments

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Communal and small-scale farmers in Mwenezi are crying foul following failure by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to pay for produce delivered early this year. The farmers expressed concern over the delay. They fear that this could cripple preparations for the 2017-2018 farming season. Mr Moses Siwela, a farmer from Maranda, said GMB had promised to pay them within three weeks after deliveries in July, but farmers haven’t received anything yet.

“We have been receiving different excuses from GMB. We are even worried that the farming season is here, but we do not have money to prepare our fields for the coming season. If we had been paid, we could have secured our inputs and prepared for a better season, but all this is in vain,” he said.

Another small-scale farmer from Mukume Village echoed the same sentiments, saying most farmers are failing to make ends meet while waiting for the payments.

“I am a bit discouraged because some of us are full-time farmers and we get money from selling our produce. I am failing to pay fees for my children because I have been hoping that GMB will pay us in time,” he said.

Ward 13 councillor Mr Takura Mudawose said GMB officials blamed the delays on late collection of grain from various points, which affected processing of payments.

“Yes, we are worried but the officials have since explained to us that they faced some challenges in collecting the dispatched grain at Mufula Collecting Point to the depot. We just hope that they will pay the farmers anytime soon so that they prepare for the forthcoming season,” he said. Attempts to get a comment from Mwenezi GMB depot manager Mr Tawana Masiyambiri were fruitless by the time of going to print.

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