Mutasa attacks GMB

Zanu (PF) National Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa on Friday last week took a swipe at the Grain Marketing Board for its shoddy service to small-scale farmers.

Zanu (PF) National Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa
Zanu (PF) National Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa

Addressing a national field day for small-scale farmers sponsored by Pioneer Seeds in Ward 27 under Chief Mutasa, Mutasa said GMB had let down some farmers through its rigid bureaucracy, which had forced farmers to opt for private buyers who are paying less for delivered cereals.

GMB is paying $390 per metric tonne but farmers are opting to selling to private buyers who are buying at a cash price of $250 per tonne.

“We are being troubled by the way GMB is treating our farmers,” said Mutasa. He said small-scale farmers were the “major producers” of the country`s grain since independence.

Instead of wasting time milling mealie meal for distribution to local shops, GMB should focus on forming strategic partnerships with seed companies and other stakeholders to make sure that it effectively discharge its mandate, he said.

The GMB should move with times and adapt new technology of storing its grain, he added. “Farmers are told to go back with their maize until its moisture is 12 percent. Who is going to bear the transport costs? GMB should improve its technology such that it accepts the maize and then dry it using modern technology instead of instructing the farmers to go back with the grain,” said Mutasa. He assured farmers that he would engage Agriculture Minister Joseph Made to address issues at the parastatal, which he said was losing focus.

Farmers who attended the field day concurred with Mutasa saying of late GMB has failed to pay them their money on time. They said they were left with no choice but to sell their grain to private buyers on rock bottom prices.

GMB says it does not have the money to pay for delivered maize.

The Principal Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Reston Muzamhindo, said they would engage all the stakeholders in an attempt to address concerns were raised by farmers.

Pioneer Seeds has introduced a small-scale farmers competition in a bid to encourage and incentivise them to boost food security.

Unlike in previous years where farmers received wheelbarrows and hoes for their efforts, Pioneer Seed is now offering handsome packages such as drilling of boreholes and supply of irrigation kits, free inputs for three consecutive seasons as well $7,000 in cash to the overall winner.

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