Corn farmers plead for 50% payment in USD

GMB

BY KUDAKWASHE TAGWIREYI

FARMERS are pleading with the Grain Marketing Board to increase US dollar (USD) supply to corn growers to 50%.

Abdul Nyathi, president of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU): “We welcome the 30% offered although we would have liked it to be 50% to start with. We hope that in the next season or with regard to the sales season, it may be revised to 50%”.

“We welcome the government’s decision to at least understand that the procurement of all supplies, in fact, all inputs is done in US dollars,” Nyathi said.

Nyathi added that it was difficult for farmers to access foreign currency in the parallel market to buy inputs.

“It was very difficult for farmers to use the parallel exchange rate, even the discount rate was too low to do anything for the cost of inputs, so with this decision that gave us 30%, we we welcome it and we also hope that they will also see that it needs to be improved over time,” Nyathi added.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Shadreck Makombe said the government’s move was welcome as farmers sought to protect themselves from the current economic difficulties.

“The 30% grant goes in the right direction for a start by the government, however, as farmers we would like to recover our costs if we look at what is prevailing in the economy, fluctuations and inflation indicate that we may not return to the field.

“Yes, we are happy with the 30%, but we hope it is 50%, 70% and eventually 100%, because it saves on import expenses,” Makombe said.

GMB last week informed farmers that it was paying them 30% for their maize and traditional grain in US dollars and 70% in local currency.

“The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is advising the nation that it is paying farmers 30% of the amount due on maize and traditional grains delivered in USD and 70% in Zimbabwe dollars,” said GMB Managing Director Roki Mutenha.

“Farmers are therefore urged to open nostro accounts in USD with their respective banks as a matter of urgency. The GMB encourages farmers to update their nostro bank details with supply chain managers at all depots nationwide for prompt payment,” he added.

A farmer and agronomist from Marondera, Kennedy Mapawona, said the supply was too low given the high input prices.

“I think the 30% is a bit low considering the high input prices. What I would have preferred for GMB is that they would have offered me partial payment as inputs instead. I cover myself in terms of entries then whatever comes is another story. 30% will not cover the purchase of inputs that we purchase using forex,” Mapawona said.

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