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Zimbabwe's Grain Monopoly Awaits Funds To Buy Winter Wheat Crop

Amidst a continued tight supply of wheat, flour and bread, the Grain Marketing Board of Zimbabwe said it has not yet received funds from the government to buy wheat from farmers though some producers are well advanced in their winter wheat harvests.

GMB Acting Chief Executive Samuel Muvuti disclosed last week that the Ministry of Agriculture and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe have not yet remitted the funds. Some fear farmers could suffer losses if crops are soaked by the rains now arriving.

But GMB Finance Director Rangaridzai Chivasa said the agency held a meeting with relevant authorities Monday afternoon and that the funds will soon be available. He added that farmers can now deposit wheat with the GMB and receive payment.

In August, the government raised the producer price for wheat to Z$218,000 a tonne from Z$9,000 previously to encourage the flow of wheat from fields to depots.

But agronomist Thomas Nherera, a former president of the Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that delays in paying farmers could hinder maize planting in the coming farm season.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...