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– Chronicle

THE Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) has gone to the market seeking to raise $5 billion through agro-bills, which is the first batch of the $20 billion required to finance the buying of maize this marketing season.

AMA recently announced the intent to raise $20 billion through agro-bills to finance grain procurement by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) in the 2021 marketing season.

The initiative is part of the authority’s mandate of sourcing working capital to support production and marketing of agricultural products.

In a public update on Friday, AMA said:

“The first batch of AMA ZWL$20 billion agro bill to finance purchase of maize for 2021 buying season is now available for subscription.

“Investors (corporates/individuals) can apply for a minimum of ZWL$1 million.”

The agro-bills are being issued through CBZ Bank and it is hoped that going forward, AMA will take a proactive role in securing funds for procurement for produce ahead of marketing season to avoid payment delays that have been experienced in the past.

In a joint statement, AMA and CBZ indicated that features of the agro bills, which open today, among others include 21 percent interest per annum, prescribed asset status, liquid asset status and tax exemption status.

Zimbabwe has achieved a bumper harvest this year with deliveries expected to be over two million tonnes of maize and over 300 000 tonnes of traditional grains.

This marketing season, GMB is paying farmers within 72 hours of grain delivery to depots or five days after delivering to the buying points. It is hoped that early payments would enable farmers to prepare on time for the coming planting season.

AMA was established by the Government primarily to promote production of strategic crops such as tobacco, cotton, sugar, soya beans, maize and barley.

The organisation is also mandated to promote marketing and fair pricing of agricultural commodities as well as promote contract farming through encouraging private sector participation.

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