Chaos Reings Supreme As GMB Fails To Transport Grain To Depots

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By Anna Chibamu

THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is failing to transport grains from its temporal shelter to main depots in  development which might humper prospects of food security owing to poor storage, legislators have warned.
According to the National Assembly members during question and answer time on Wednesday, there is chaos as farmers have not been paid with their grain still kept at temporal shelters due to lack of transport.
The farmers are supposed to receive their payment within 72 hours of grain delivery, but some are still to receive their money two weeks or more after delivering grain to GMB.
Mashonaland West Proportional Representation MP Goodluck Kwaramba told National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda that due to the season’s bumper harvests, especially in Hurungwe where she comes from,  farmers delivering grain at temporal GMBs were facing challenges as transport blues had resulted in failure by GMB to transport the grains to main depots.
Deputy Minister of Lands Douglas Karoro explained that once grain is delivered at temporal shelters manned/ created by GMB, it was no longer the farmer’s responsibility to ferry the grain to main GMB depots.
“The Government policy says if we are talking about temporary collection points, if a farmer delivers grain at a temporary collection point, the details are taken which include tonnage and personal details. The money is written down there. The issue of transportation from the temporary shelter to GMB is no longer the farmer’s responsibility but GMB’s,” said Karoro.
However, Kwaramba alleged the temporary shelters were now filled up, making it difficult for other farmers to deliver their grain at these points as GMB fails to deliver the grains to main depots.
“I understand farmers are not being paid until grain is delivered at the GMB, not the temporary collection points,” added Kwaramba.
The deputy minister tried to evade Kwaramba’s question resulting in Speaker Mudenda requesting him to respond to her query.
“As far as I know, concerning what I have discussed with the management at GMB, this problem is specific to certain collection points,” Karoro stated but Mudenda called him to order saying: “You did not answer on the issue on late payment of farmers by the Grain Marketing Board who would have taken their maize to the collection points.”
“Mr Speaker Sir, our farmers, whether it is the main depot or the collection point, our policy is that within 72 hours, they will have been paid.  If there are some who are not being paid in 72 hours, then I will go and confirm with the Grain Marketing Board so that we know and have correct answers.”
Norton MP Temba Mliswa then reminded all in the House thst the same question on preparedness was asked this year to the deputy minister before harvesting  time on how well prepared they were logistically.
“The deputy minister told us the Lands Ministry was prepared and now I am shocked to know that they are not prepared. Why are you not following your plan in calling Grain Marketing Board?”
In some areas such as Zvimba, only two points of collection were said to have been availed and yet there was no one from GMB to mann them according to Uzumba Maramba-Pfungwe MP Simbaneuta Mudarikwa.
This season, the country has had a good harvest in most parts of the country due to adequate rains that fell.