gmb_maize.jpgThe recent consolidation by government of three input programmes into one subsidised scheme has resulted in most Grain Marketing Board depots running out of fertilisers.

 

The GMB opened shop during the New Year’s holiday, a development which has drawn criticism from most farmers who accuse the board’s officials of creating a platform for looting.

A survey by ZBC News at depots in and around Harare has revealed that most depots have since run out of fertilisers as stocks had been collected over the New Year’s holidays with farmers only accessing maize seed.

The survey also exposed parallel markets especially in Harare’s Mbare area that have become active with stocks of fertilisers which had dwindled over the past few weeks suddenly going up after the GMB’S distribution exercise of last week.

The sudden activity on the black market has been linked to the fertilizer from the GMB.

Farmers who spoke to ZBC News accused GMB officials of deliberately creating a looting ground by announcing the collection of inputs over the holidays when most people were preoccupied by the festive season activities.

GMB General Manager Albert Mandizha could not deny that some individual A2 farmers got a maximum of 40 tonnes of fertiliser when others got nothing, but however said the parastatal only managed to get 35 percent of the contracted fertilisers.

He however gave an assurance that the remaining 65% will be distributed soon.

On the issue of the parallel market, Mr Mandizha said, “It was the duty of law enforcement agents to ensure that sanity prevails,” insisting that his parastatal’s duty ends with the distribution of such inputs.

Government on Thursday last week merged the US$30 million swap, the US$45 million scheme and the US$56,2 million Agro Bills Programme in a bid to ease pressure in the agricultural sector which is facing various challenges such as irregular rains and high cost of inputs.