Wheat farmers to start getting their balances this week Mrs Depinah Nkomo

Precious Manomano Herald Reporter

ALL wheat farmers that delivered their crop to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) will start receiving their outstanding payments in foreign currency this week.

So far, Government has paid up
$37 billion and US$4 million to wheat farmers and outstanding payments are around US$26 million.

Consequently, efforts are being made to ensure that all the remaining balances are paid up.

The country this past season realised a record wheat yield since the crop began being commercially grown in the country in 1966.

Speaking during a Green field day held in Mazowe on Friday, Grain Marketing Board (GMB) operations director, Mr Forward Takaendesa said they would start to pay outstanding balances for wheat deliveries this week.

He said the remaining foreign currency arrears would be cleared, adding that 67 percent of  the local currency payment component was all paid up.

“We managed to pay 67 percent in the Zim dollar component. Those with errors on their accounts and those who delivered their crop late were also affected, but we are sure that all those are going to be paid.

“Efforts are being made to aggregate such amounts. We are trying our best. By next week, we are sure that we are going to pay our farmers in US dollars,” he said.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development permanent secretary Dr John Basera thanked farmers for doing a great job in wheat production, adding that private sector participation played a big role in the wheat production.

“We had a bumper crop and we had a plan to crowd in the participation of the private sector even in acquiring the massive wheat crop.

“We are closely working together with our private players. I would like to congratulate farmers for the job well done but at the same time, empathise with you on the delay of payments,” he said.

Agriculture grew by 36 percent in 2021 from US$5,8 billion agricultural economy to about $8,1 billion economy in the year 2021 to 2022.

Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust president Mrs Depinah Nkomo said it was crucial for farmers to get payments early so that they could plan for the next season.

“It is crucial for farmers to get their payments early so that they are able to plan because farmers rely on farming as their business. If you sell there is a need to get money on time,” she said.

For a premium grade, GMB is paying $268 048 a tonne plus US$220 per tonne, while standard grade receives $243 680 plus US$200 per tonne.

Last season saw a record wheat hectare of over 78 000ha capable of producing over 380 000 tonnes of wheat. This was a private sector and Government initiative that gave birth to the success story, which needs to be replicated in all sectors of the economy.

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