ZIMBABWE – The Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) of Zimbabwe has raised US$75 million for grain procurement, about a month after it issued agro-bills to purchase maize from farmers.

A statement from its financial advisor, CBZ Bank said that the authority sought to secure the funds for buying maize through the grain trade and marketing company, the Grain Marketing Board.

AMA bills, guaranteed by the government with an interest rate of 7% per annum attracted overwhelming response from subscribers attributed to perceived uncertainty over Zimbabwe’s currency reforms, according to the Herald.

“The response was very overwhelming,” said an AMA official.

“The money would be used to pay for grain deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board-both maize and wheat.”

The money would be used to pay for grain deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board-both maize and wheat.

This comes even as farmers start harvests for winter wheat and this will enable GMB make timely payments as opposed to several months it used to take to pay farmers for their deliveries.

GMB said it is offering US$390 per tonne of maize, red sorghum, white sorghum, rapoko and millet.

This season, farmers managed to deliver 1.1 million tonnes of maize to GMB, moving away from reliance on maize imports as in the past.

According to GMB, maize deliveries were expected to reach 1.2 million tonnes given farmers were still selling their commodities to the grain agency.

News have it that the government is negotiating with farmers’ representatives to review wheat prices upwards and this means higher earnings to farmers.

Based on GMB prices, a tonne of wheat goes for US$500. This season, farmers had so far delivered 9 000 tonnes of wheat to GMB.

Through the Command Agriculture programme initiated by President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe is seeking to be self-reliant in grains and consider future export of the commodity.

It is a government programme meant to assist farmers with inputs to augment local production and enhance food security.