Governmentâ€™s vision of having Zimbabwe as the breadbasket of Africa seem to be vanishing as the countryâ€™s Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is currently leasing out a sum of 57 silos countrywide to some private players at the expense of the strategic grain reserves.The early 1980s saw the newly liberated Zimbabwe embarking on a massive infrastructure development where the GMB as part of the countryâ€™s parastatals established depots across the country to make the countryâ€™s the regionâ€™s breadbasket.
Three decades down the line, GMB has started sub letting some silos to private players dropping the vision of the icons of the struggle.
Zimbabwe farmers Union (ZFU), says the situation obtaining is not conducive as it is prejudicing its members.
â€œI can confirm that some of our members have been turned away especially at the Aspindale depot. This has resulted in farmers seeking some depots that are further from their place thereby chewing their returns in transport fees,â€ he said.
GMB deputy general manager, Mr. Lawrence Jasi, confirmed that his organisation is subletting some silos but however denied allegations that some farmers have been turned away from its depots.
He said, â€œOur capacity is too big thus why we have come up with a policy to sub let some of our silos. As for turning away farmers we have not heard of such cases.Â It is only at Aspindale Depot that we have urged farmers to come with packaged maize because some of our silos are under refurbishment.â€
ZBC is reliably informed that some unscrupulous business people are buying maize from the region at a lending cost of around 180 dollars a tonne and reselling the product to GMB at US$285 a tonne, a situation that could have worsened the plight of genuine farmers as they will be told that some depots are full.
Stakeholders have called for policies and relevant laws which will ensure that every loophole is plugged if local farmers are to be protected so as to retain Zimbabweâ€™s status as the regionâ€™s bread-basket.