….as GMB fails to pay for maize sold last season
Thembinkosi Ncube / Sifelani Murambiwa
Farmers in various parts of Masvingo province are planting untreated maize seed since they have failed to raise money for the inputs amid reports that Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is yet to give them money for the 2013-2014 agricultural produce.
A survey by Tell Zimbabwe has revealed that 2014- 2015 farming season is likely to be the worst farming period for communal farmers who do not have any clue on how to get adequate inputs.
Farmers in Summerton resettlement area said GMB was being unfair to them since they did not have any alternative source of income. Others said they only got a 2kg packet of tread maize seed from donation by Dr Grace Mugabe during her meet the people rally.
“These guys (GMB) are very cruel, how do they expect us to survive? I sold several tonnes of maize last season but I am not paid even a cent,” said a farmer from Summerton.
Some said they relied on the money from the sales of their grains to look after their families but it has been hard for them to make ends meet.
“We have families to support and we hoped that the money from the sales of our agricultural produce was going to help us in fending for our families but right now our children have arrears at their schools because we have not been able to pay for their fees. The worst part is that the people from GMB have not yet addressed us regarding the matter and the silence is killing us”, said Nyaradzai Ezrah.
“We need to buy seeds, fertilizer and chemicals so that we can have better yields in the end but we cannot do that because the money has not been paid. Right now we have planted seeds from our granaries and we cannot afford to buy enough fertilizer and other critical inputs. We have lost our faith in GMB”, said another affected farmer.
The farmers are calling on the government to intervene and they also hope that the government relief which aims at helping about a million households with farming inputs will reach their area soon.
Most farmers in Summerton depend on farming to send their children to school and for all their needs.
Zimbabwe Farmer’s Union (ZFU) Masvingo provincial director, Jeremiah Chimwanda could not be drawn in to commenting saying he needed to be cleared by his boss who was out of the country by the time of this publication.
“I cannot comment on that matter unless I get clearance from my boss in Harare but it’s quite unfortunate that he is out of the country”, said Chimwanda.
Meanwhile farmers in Chiredzi said they did not manage to sell their produce for last season since they failed to raise money for transport to the nearest GMB.
Founder and director of Community Initiatives for Sustainable Development Trust Aspicious Ndlovu said farmers were still stuck with tonnes of maize, sorghum which now rotting due to poor storage facilities.
“Most communal farmers in Chiredzi are running losses because GMB did not honour its promise of paying for grain deliveries hence farmers failed to raise transport fees of US$ 40 per tonne which was being charged by transporters,” said Ndlovu. local