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– Herald

The first batch of the Agricultural Marketing Authority of Zimbabwe (AMA)’s $20 billion agro-bill is ready for subscription after receiving all the requisite regulatory approvals, the authority has said.

For the first batch, AMA says it intends to raise $5 billion.

The agro-bill is aimed at raising money to fund the purchase of maize this season.

Said AMA: 

“The first batch of AMA $20 billion agro-bill to finance purchase of maize for 2020/21 buying season is now available for subscription. Investors can apply for a minimum of $1 million.”

The agro-bill is a tap issue with an interest rate of 21 percent per annum and a 365-day tenor.

The bills will be issued through CBZ.

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

Although tobacco has successfully managed to attract private funding, the same story cannot be said on other crops such as cotton that struggle to get private funders.

Given the centrality of maize to national food security, Government has remained the major financier and buyer of the commodity through the Grain Marketing Board with AMA facilitating resource mobilisation from the market.

Zimbabwe is expecting to harvest 3 million tonnes of cereals during the 2020/21 summer cropping season, the highest yield in 20 years, the Second Round Crop and Livestock Assessment report revealed recently.

A surplus of over 820 000 tonnes of cereals is expected this marketing season, the highest yield since the 2000/01 farming season.

The assessment report has revealed that cereal production is estimated at 3 075 538 tonnes against a national cereal requirement of 1 797 435 tonnes for human consumption and 450 000 tonnes for livestock.

According to the final assessment report, estimated maize production stands at 2 717 171 tonnes, which is a significant rise from the 907 628 tonnes produced in the 2019/2020 season.

The report reads: “In addition to the good rainfall season in the 2020/2021 season, the practice of climate-proofed technologies (Pfumvudza/Intwasa) significantly contributed to the increased yield levels supported by well-coordinated input programmes.

“There was marked improvement in maize yield across the country as a result of increased amount of rainfall and good distribution from the onset of the season in November 2020 to the end of February 2021,” reads the report.

It states that maize production was dominated by the communal sector, which contributed 36 percent although yield levels were low compared to other sectors.

It has been noted that in some areas, yield levels were suppressed because of leaching during the months of December and January.

Traditional grains production is estimated at 347 968 tonnes, which is an increase of 128 percent compared to the 152 515 tonnes produced by farmers in 2019/2020 season.

Sorghum production is expected to be 244 063 tonnes which is 135 percent more than 103 684 tonnes obtained during 2019/2020 season.

There was also an increase in finger millet production with farmers expected to harvest 13 223 tonnes registering an increase of 35 percent from the 9 799 tonnes produced during last summer’s cropping season.

Pearl millet production increased by 132 percent from last season’s 39 032 tonnes to 90 683 tonnes while groundnut production increased from 87 498 tonnes to 208 864 tonnes, a 139 increase attributed a good rainy season.

Sunflower production also increased by 4 751 tonnes in 2020/2021 season, from last season’s 9 447 tonnes to 14 198 tonnes mainly owing to good and well distributed rains and increased Government input support towards the crop.

According to GMB, farmers who deliver grain to to their depots will be paid in 72 hours while those delivering to collection points will be paid in five working days. A total of 1 389 buying points have been identified for the convenience of farmers.

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