By ZBC Reporter
GOVERNMENT has warned farm produce middlemen to stay away from state-funded wheat or risk prosecution.
Officially opening the winter wheat harvesting and marketing season, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Dr Anxious Masuka said the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is the only authorised buyer of government-funded wheat.
“The public is hereby advised that harvesting and marketing of the 2020 winter wheat was officially opened on 10 September by GMB, the designated sole and duly authorised government buyer of all wheat,” he said.
“To facilitate the GMB will be adequately capacitated to ensure that farmers are paid timeously. Farmers are advised not to side market government-funded wheat. We equally warn unscrupulous buyers that those found on the wrong side of the law will be severely punished.”
Dr Masuku added that government has availed inputs for the 2020 to 2021 summer cropping season.
“I am glad to announce that inputs are now available for the 2020-2021 summer cropping season for the climate proofed presidential inputs scheme popularly known as Pfumvudza.
“We urge farmers to deliver their maize to the GMB to offset their debts. Only those farmers who have delivered maize to the GMB may be allocated inputs under the command agriculture programme,” he said.
More than 44 000 hectares were put under winter wheat this season, an 83.6 per cent increase in the area planted in the 2019 to 2020 season.
With Zimbabwe requiring at least 400 000 tonnes of wheat to meet its annual flour demands, the government has come up with a programme to encourage wheat production on all farms with reliable sources of water.