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Wheat Farmers In Zimbabwe Go Unpaid For 2006 Winter Crops

The Grain Marketing Board says it does not have money to pay all of the farmers who consigned their wheat harvests to it in the recently ended market season.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted GMB Chief Executive Samuel Muvuti as saying his agency's cash flow problem was temporary and would be resolved.

The GMB increased the price to farmers for their wheat in August to Z$218,000 a tonne from Z$9,000 previously, but is unable to make good on its commitments.

The crisis could scuttle hopes for many farmers of good results in the current maize season, because they need wheat revenues to purchase inputs like fertilizer. The Grain Marketing Board requires farmers to pay cash for those inputs.

Agronomist Thomas Nherera, past president of the Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the GMB’s cash may have been drained when large wheat deliveries came all in at once.

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