The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has appealed to smallholder farmers to desist from selling maize to middlemen as they incur revenue loss by doing so.

Middlemen are paying smallholder farmers as little as $180 per tonne and in turn sell to the grain to the GMB at $390 per tonne.

Speaking at the launch of the Presidential Inputs Scheme for Chiweshe district, GMB General Manager, Mr Rockie Mutenha urged farmers not to sell to middlemen, adding that the  company is paying farmers in one and half weeks at most.

“I am worried that you are selling to middlemen who pay $180 but they come to GMB to get $210 profit for no labour,” he said.

The Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Retired Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri launched the inputs distribution programme, highlighting that inputs distributed under the presidential scheme are meant to improve the welfare of smallholder farmers.

“These inputs are not a loan, it’s the President taking care of his people,” he said.

Meanwhile, COTTCO has revived cotton production in Chiweshe, which farmers had abandoned due to low prices offered for the white gold a few years back.

Farmers are also being encouraged to compliment the free inputs by purchasing their own in order to maximise production.