By Nyore Madzianike
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has not changed the purchase price of grain for the 2018-19 marketing season, as Government is yet to deliberate on the price regime for this year’s grain produce.
The 2018/19 marketing season started on April 1 this year, with the GMB saying it was ready to receive and pay farmers upon delivery of all types of grain to its 86 depots countrywide.
Speaking on the sidelines of an open day held at Bazeley Bridge Depot in Manicaland last week, GMB board vice chairman, Mr Basilio Sandamu, said they were expecting to make all payments for delivered grain within two weeks of delivery.
“As far as of now, there are no changes in prices,” he said. “The Government has not yet informed us about any changes and we are still paying the same prices that we were paying last year.
“As GMB, this year we are very much prepared for new deliveries and the Government has been very supportive in terms of providing the funds for farmers’ payment.
“We would like to thank the Government for that because it has given the GMB ability to pay the farmers within two weeks upon delivery of whatever the farmer would have brought to GMB.
“We are prepared for this season and we are prepared to receive any crop. We are adequately prepared to store that grain in good condition for a number of years.”
Last year, GMB was purchasing maize at $390 per tonne.
Farmers delivering groundnuts to GMB are to be given their money on the day of delivery.
Mr Sandamu said GMB would be reintroducing the farmer’s cards, which uses the biometric system.
He said they were expecting to start introducing the farmer’s card at the beginning of this year’s marketing season, but because of foreign currency shortages the process was delayed.
“It is an improvement based on the new technologies that are there now, which will enable us to do quite a number of things,” said Mr Sandamu.
“We have been capturing information about the farmers who have been delivering to us and we are building up a data base on the farmers. Once we introduce that card system, it is going to make it easy for farmers and even GMB as well to pay the farmers.
“It will also make it easy for the farmers when buying their inputs.”
Mr Sandamu said they were hoping to introduce the card system within the next two months.
“We had hoped to bring it at the start of the marketing season on April 1, but there are a number of hindrances that were faced, particularly in terms of foreign currency, as some of the technologies need to be imported,” he said.
A number of farmers drawn from Bazeley Bridge and Marange attended the open day, where various concerns affecting farmers were discussed.The Herald