He said treasury had only provided Z$14 billion and this had already been exhausted.
Zimbabwe is expecting a maize crop of 2.7 million tonnes and according to Masuka 710 000 tonnes had been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board by Tuesday.
He said the government had tried to raise money through Agricultural Marketing Authority agro bills but subscription had been very low.
The government was now thinking of floating treasury bills next week and also allowing the GMB to sell some of the crop and create a revolving fund to pay for the crop.
Masuka gave the detailed explanation after being asked by Cecil Kashiri, the legislator for Magunje, whether the government had abandoned its promise to pay farmers within 72 hours of maize being delivered.
“When Government announced the policy that farmers delivering their grain to the GMB depot will be paid within 72 hours and those that will deliver to collection points will be paid within 5 days, that policy has not changed,”Masuka said.
“This was to entice and motivate farmers to deliver. We were basing on the 2018/2019 season, which was an equally good season where the GMB intake was over 1.2 million metric tonnes.
“For the deliveries in the 2020/2021 agricultural season, farmers have responded overwhelmingly and because the harvest has been very good, as of yesterday Mr. Speaker Sir, 710000 metric tonnes of grain had been delivered to the GMB valued at over 23 billion dollars, of which $14 billion has been paid and the outstanding amount is $9 billion.
“Our aged analysis indicates that the amounts that are outstanding beyond two weeks now constitute 44% of the amounts owed to farmers.”
Masuka apologised to the farmers for the delay and said the government was doing everything in its power to ensure that they were paid.
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