New strategy needed for GMB, says Sipepa-Nkomo

HARARE - Samuel Sipepa-Nkomo, shadow minister of Agriculture, Land and Water Development, has urged government to give priority to other potential areas of investment than continuously pumping money into the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

Nkomo said only a handful of elite farmers benefitted.

Speaking to the Daily News on the sidelines of a media briefing hosted by Bulawayo Press Club on Thursday, he said the new Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa should find alternative areas of investing the funds traditionally allocated for farmers through GMB, until such time when a dependable tracking scheme is in place to ensure possibilities of following up after harvesting.

“The current strategy employed by administrators in issuing out seeds and other farming implements is deceiving and a threat to the country’s food security,” he said.

“The traditional method of supporting the same farmers over and over has failed, hence I recommend that, as a country we ought to now search for other alternative areas of investing the same funds previously allocated to farmers through GMB.

“At the same time GMB needs to be self-reliant.”

He said the most appropriate way of handling the process transparently was by having the process administered by certified authorities such as banks.

Nkomo lamented funds that Zimbabwe has lost over the years through farming subsidies.

He said it was like giving without prospects of gaining anything out of it.

A recent report issued by World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that due to poor yields last season, over 2,2 million people will need food from January to March in 2014.

The challenge requires urgent government action in establishing a food reserve as a measure to contain the looming humanitarian crisis.

Last year, the then Finance minister, Tendai Biti defied guidelines stipulated in the Abuja Declaration which requested government to commit at least 10 percent of their respective national budget to agriculture and food security by availing only 4 percent.

 

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