Davis Marapira, deputy minister for agriculture, mechanisation and irrigation development (crop production) said to The Herald that farmers in Zimbabwe started delivering maize to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and that payments were made within seven days.
“There is a great improvement from last year as we would have received 450 000 tonnes this year compared to 145 000 tonnes last year, which means the deliveries have tripled due to the good rains and implementation of the Command Agriculture Scheme,” he added.
Marapira further said that about US$175,50mn has been paid to the farmers.
According to the source, Zimbabwe government has pegged the maize price at US$390 per tonne against the price of private buyers of US$360 in Command Agriculture drive.
The source further informed that the stakeholders in the Command Agriculture Scheme have raised US$450mn for grain purchases with payment being processed through treasury for the transparency reasons. In addition, the agriculture marketing authority in the country also secured US$62mn while millers came up with US$312mn to buy 800 000 tonnes.
Wonder Chabikwa, president of commercial farmers union in Zimbabwe, said that the country has adequate food requirements this year and that farmers are being paid on time. The source reported that Zimbabwe is expected to save more than US$200mn on its import bill since there will be no grain imports after the success of the Command Agriculture programme.
Due to favourable rain and resource availability, some farmers are getting seven tonnes per hectare. The government has set up authorities across all districts in order to ensure swift transactions. In addition, satellite depots were put up in remote areas of the country to ensure that farmers do not have to travel long distances.
The official reported that Zimbabwe needs around 1.8mn tonnes of maize for human as well as livestock consumption annually.