gmb 04-08-10.jpgThe Grain Marketing Board (GMB) says it has started disbursing subsidised inputs following the release of the first batch of the US$10 million by the government to assist winter wheat farmers.

GMB General Manager, Mr Albert Mandizha confirmed this, saying the government has finally released the US$10 million to secure inputs for this year’s winter wheat season.

Under the facility, supply contracts have been signed and GMB has already started distributing the inputs that are expected to cover about 29 000 hectares.

The GMB boss said fertilisers are not for free but will be sold at subsidised prices of US$15 per bag.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Dr Joseph Made, who admitted that production of wheat is behind set targets, challenged farmers to compliment government’s efforts as the subsidised inputs will not be enough to cover all the farmers.

The government has set this year’s winter wheat target at between 40 000 to 45 000 hectares but farmers are crying foul over the late disbursement of subsidised inputs, which could discourage many wheat farmers from growing the crop.