He said the GMB had 1 800 collection points and farmers were being paid at collection points.
“The resources are availed by treasury on a weekly basis. As of yesterday, grain amounting to $850 million had been delivered and of this, $560 million had been paid. We are slightly behind but none of these payments are more than 72 hours and we will endeavour to do our best under the circumstances,” Masuka said.
He also said cotton farmers were now being paid 75% in US dollars and the remainder in local currency because cotton was an export crop.
HON. MARKHAM: Hon. Speaker, due to lack of confidence in GMB and the Zimbabwean dollar component of the payment to farmers, what is the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement doing to give confidence to the farmers that they will be paid the real money on time? I cannot understand why the Ministry does not just offer a straight United States dollar price. I thank you.
HON. DR. MASUKA: The GMB has certainly improved quite a lot in its operations over the years but it is not where we want it to be as stakeholders. Let me just put things into context in terms of the payment modalities. The GMB has established 1 800 collection points. We have endeavoured to pay farmers within 72 hours of delivery. In some instances, last year we could not meet this – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! If you make interjections, can you do so with decorum Hon. Biti? There is no Mthuli, there is Prof. Mthuli Ncube. Thank you.
HON. DR. MASUKA: The GMB has a very wide network. We establish seasonal collection points amounting to 1 800 throughout the country, first to improve farmer convenience so that they are paid timeously. This year we now even have a system where farmers will be paid at the collection point unlike in the past and this is for the first time in the history of the country. We used to get the grain sent to the depot, the reconciliations done and then farmer payments. So that results in the delay of payments, but this time around we are paying at the collection point.
In terms of the resources for paying farmers, these are availed by Treasury. The resources are availed by Treasury on a weekly basis. As of yesterday, grain amounting to ZW$850 million had been delivered and of this, ZW$560 million had been paid. We are slightly behind but none of these payments are more than 72 hours and we will endeavour to do our best under the circumstances.
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