HARARE – GMB said it does not generate foreign currency as it announced that it will pay farmers in Zimbabwean dollars for their produce amid fears by farmers that the local currency might depreciate. This comes as the government maintained producer prices at the same level as last year. GMB will be buying a tonne of maize for ZWL $32 00 while a tonne of traditional grain and soya beans will be bought for ZWL $38 000 and ZWL $48 000 respectively.
GMB chief executive officer, Rockie Mutenha, said preparations for the buying and storing of a bumper harvest that is expected this season are well underway. Currently, GMB said it has setup 1 349 buying points across the country as part of easing the buying of maize. “Payments are going to be made through the bank and through the GMB farmer’s card systems.”
He added that farmers will be paid with 72 hours of making a delivery at the depot and within seven days after delivering through the collection points. “GMB will collect grain through the 87 depots across the country and this will be complimented by 1 349 collection and buying points.”
Mutenha said they had identified 665 cotton buying centres which will also be used as grain collection points. “We are going to make these a one stop shop whereas farmers deliver their cotton they also bring their maize.”
Mutenha added that 12 depots were ready to store 750 000 metric tonnes while bag depots have a combined handling capacity of 2.4 million metric tonnes of grain.
“GMB is constructing 21 concrete hardstones at a cost of ZWL $49 million and are above 50 percent to completion and these will have a total storage capacity of two million metric tonnes.”
In terms of the grain handling machines, GMB has 140 stacker machines that will aid in improving efficiency. “GMB procured 900 new platform scales in addition to the 364 scales while, a total of 11.8 million grain bags in stock which can handle 590 845 mt of grain and a further 16 million bags are at PRAZ for final approval.”
GMB also managed to acquire 2 444 tarpaulins in stock to cover 611 000mt of grain, while 3 000 more are being procured.