Zimbabwe’s grain farmers are reportedly unsettled by raid threats from the GMB and Ministry of Agriculture. Last week a memo to the GMB from the secretary of Lands and Agriculture to GMB commanded GMB to be more aggressive to ensure that farmers deliver grain to the parastatal. The letter suggested that GMB should utilise military and police officers to collect grain from farmers has been roundly criticised by representatives of the farmers. Last week, the secretary of the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture, John Basera, issued a memo in which he instructed the chief executive of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), Rockie Mutenha, to invoke the measures of Statutory Instrument (SI) 145/19 in order to prevent farmers from engaging in side marketing of their grain.

In his response to the letter, Shadreck Makombe, president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union, contended that growers should have the right to pick who would sell their grain to. This is what he had to say:

There is nothing like side marketing for those who independently grew their grain because they would have financed their farming activities.

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These farmers must make independent choices on where to sell their grain as the government’s decision is curtailing their freedom to make independent choices.

This policy should have been implemented on those who produced their grain through contract farming.

Of course, those doing side marketing should be disciplined, but what about independent farmers?