Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent
GOVERNMENT will soon avail about $55 million to the Grain Marketing Board to settle outstanding payments for farmers who delivered their grain to the granary in the 2013-2014 summer cropping season, a Government official has said.
In an interview, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Cde Davis Marapira, said Government would soon avail the funds to enable farmers to acquire farming inputs on time ahead of the 2014-2015 summer cropping season.
GMB owes farmers US$37 million in outstanding payments.
Deputy Minister Marapira said farmers should not be inconvenienced ahead of the summer cropping season and Government would ensure that farming inputs were distributed on time.
“Government will avail about US$55 million to GMB to clear outstanding payments to farmers who delivered their grain to the granary. The money would be made available soon so that we do not inconvenience our farmers as they prepare for the 2014-2015 summer cropping season.
“All farmers shall receive their money as soon as possible,” he said.
Deputy Minister Marapira said the ministry had started distributing farming inputs under the Presidential Input Support Scheme.
He said Midlands and Mashonaland provinces had already started receiving the inputs. Deputy Minister Marapira said President Mugabe added cotton and cow-peas to this year’s input support scheme.
“We have started distributing the farming inputs to smallholder and community farmers. We are targeting 1,6 million families across the country. “We have since increased the inputs and added cotton and cow-peas.
“Each family will receive 25 kg sorghum, 20kg cotton seed, 5kg cow-peas seed, 10kg seed maize, 150kg Compound D fertiliser, 150kg Ammonium Nitrate and 150kg Lime,” he said.
Last year, smallholder farmers contributed 200 000 metric tonnes of maize to the granary while some are still delivering their grain to GMB.