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Cash Injection Enables Zimbabwe's Grain Monopoly To Pay Farmers

Zimbabwe's Grain Marketing Board said Tuesday it would resume payments to wheat farmers after an emergency injection of Z$4 billion (US$16 million) by the Ministry of Finance into the depleted coffers of the national grain monopoly.

The GMB said last week that because of a cash crunch it had stopped paying farmers for wheat they delivered in the winter wheat season which ended some weeks ago.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper reported Tuesday that the GMB would start paying wheat farmers with immediate effect through electronic money transfers.

But the newly received funds would cover the cost of only about 18,000 tonnes at the official producer price of Z$218,000 (US$872) per metric tonne of wheat.

Agronomist Roger Mpande told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the GMB, which exercises a monopoly over the purchase and sale of certain grains, is driving away farmers by failing to keep its financial promises.

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