Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent
Government has provided US$9,2 million to the Grain Marketing Board to enable the parastatal to settle farmers’ outstanding payments dating back to February last year, GMB general manager Mr Albert Mandizha has said.Speaking during an interview soon after donating groceries to Queen of Peace Orphanage in Gweru yesterday, Mr Mandizha said GMB owed farmers US$10,1 million dating back to February last year.
“We are grateful to announce that Government has availed US$9,2 million to GMB that will go towards settling farmers’ outstanding payments. The payments are 18 months overdue. We have not been able to pay the farmers for the past two harvests.
“The farmers will start receiving their payments tomorrow (today),” he said.
Mr Mandizha said the disbursement of the funds to GMB was timely ahead of the summer cropping seasons.
He said the availing of the funds at a time when farmers were preparing for the 2013-2014 summer cropping season was a clear testimony of Government’s support of the farmers.
“I want to applaud the Government for the timely support they have shown to farmers.
“We have had problems in paying the farmers as well as making agricultural inputs available to them on time during the inclusive Government. We are confident that the new Government will do better and continue supporting the farmers, particularly smallholder ones.
“We are also confident that the timely disbursement of funds by Government would enable farmers to be fully prepared as we approach the 2013-2014 summer cropping season,” he said.
Mr Mandizha said Zimbabwe could reclaim its status as the breadbasket of Southern Africa if farmers were given the necessary support by Government.