Grain Marketing Board

From Pindula

The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is a state owned commodity trading enterprise that deals in cereals and oil seeds, the provision of logistic services to the agricultural industry as well as processing of products. The board's main objective is to ensure national food security through production, procurement and management of serials. GMB is often crippled with a myriad of problems ranging from failure to pay workers and alleged corruption. The board's mandate was seriously undermined in 2014 when it encouraged farmers to sell their grain to private buyers since the board was cash strapped.

Establishment

It was established under the maize act of 1931 as a Maize Control Board.

Functions

  • To ensure the orderly marketing of controlled agricultural products.
  • To buy and sell any controlled product which is delivered to or acquired by it.
  • To buy and sell non-controlled grains and oil seeds.
  • To provide storage, handling and processing facilities
  • Import and export agricultural products as it may consider necessary.
  • To provide fumigation, product quality control services and commercial training in grain handling.
  • To process and package rice, groundnuts, sugar beans, coffee, nyimo and pop corn at some of its depots.
  • To implement the Input Supply Credit Scheme to stimulate agriculture.
  • To establish more depots so as to stimulate agricultural products, particularly in the production of small grains.To provide proximity to our stakeholders through establishment.
  • To maintain strategic Grain Reserves for Government in line with Government

Failure to Pay Farmers

GMB has often failed to pay workers leading to lack of confidence in the board. Since 2013, GMB owed farmers an amount of US$6,1 million. The debt had a debilitating effect on the 2013/14 season as farmers were unable to realise their potential due to lack of financing.[1]

Cash Strapped

In 2014, the board announced that it had no cash to buy grain from farmers and as such it encouraged farmers to sell to private buyers. The Ministry of Agriculture said GMB was not allocated a single cent in the 2013/2014 national budget.[2] The announcement came at a time when some farmers had already threatened to sell to private buyers. This was after GMB's announcement of the new producer price which the Manicaland farmers described as meagre. The 2014-2015 maize producer price was pegged at US$390 per tonne and farmers vowed to sell to private millers who were offering between US$450 and US$500 per tonne.[3]

Corruption

In 2014 the GMB top management was fingered in a looting spree as the company struggled to service a $108 million maize import debt. The parastatal's general manager Albert Mandizha and his two deputies, allegedly took personal possession of luxury company cars without remitting payment to GMB. Mandizha allegedly took possession of an Isuzu, Toyota Prado and a Jeep Cherokee in 2013, acquired by the GMB. The vehicles, worth more than $250 000, have remained unaccounted for, while only $860 was paid out for one of the cars.[4] The management was also involved in the Salarygate scandal where it was reported that some of the bosses allegedly earned more than US$50 000.[5]

References

  1. Grain Marketing Board compromising farmers' operations: Made, 'Bulawayo', Published: 3 Jan 2014, Retrieved: 22 May 2014
  2. Don’t wait for GMB: farmers told, 'Chronicle', Published: 22 May 2014, Retrieved: 22 May 2014
  3. Manicaland farmers threaten not to sell maize to GMB, 'Bulawayo 24', Published: 3 May 2014, Retrieved: 22 May 2014
  4. Helen Kadirire, GMB bosses in looting spree, 'DailyNews', Published: 12 Feb 2014, Retrieved: 22 May 2014
  5. Government Finally Acts on Parastatal Bosses, 'News DzeZimbabwe', Published: 16 Jan 2014, Retrieved: 22 May 2014