Farmers deliver over 100 000t cereals to GMB
George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
Farmers in Masvingo Province have delivered more than 100 000 tonnes of cereals to Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots in the province following a successful 2016-17 agricultural season anchored on Government’s Command Agriculture and Presidential Inputs Support schemes. Small grains, particularly sorghum, constitute more than half of the deliveries made to GMB depots across the province with the staple maize accounting slightly above 30 000 tonnes.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister (Cropping) Davis Marapira said Masvingo will this year even enjoy the luxury of exporting small grains to other provinces.
“So far our GMB depots have collected more than 100 000 tonnes of cereals from farmers who recorded a bumper harvest in the last farming season mainly due to Government support through inputs. We expect deliveries to go further up because deliveries are still coming in particularly from farmers who harvested their crop late because of high moisture content,” he said.
Deputy Minister Marapira said Masvingo had performed exceptionally well on small grains production with farmers delivering in excess of 60 000 tonnes to GMB depots. Most of the small grains, he said, was delivered at Nandi GMB depot in Chiredzi and Rutenga in Mwenezi while much of the maize was delivered to the depots at Mupandawana in Gutu, Jerera in Zaka and Masvingo District.
“The province is now even in a position to export sorghum to other provinces that did not produce enough,” he said. Deputy Minister Marapira said Government would want the farmers to prioritise small grains production because they thrive in arid regions such as Masvingo which receives low rainfall.
Meanwhile, GMB depots across the province have already started distributing inputs for the 2017/18 agricultural season through the Command Agriculture and Presidential Input Support Scheme. Deputy Minister Marapira said the GMB will distribute the inputs to all wards across Masvingo from where Agritex officers will be tasked with making sure the inputs get to the beneficiaries.
“This year we assigned different roles to the GMB and Agritex whereby the former distributes the inputs to ward centres while the latter does the actual allocation to farmers on the ground.
“We felt this will improve efficiency and ensure timely allocation of inputs to our farmers,” he said. Farmers across Zimbabwe have delivered more than 1, 2 million tonnes of maize to GMB depots with the figure expected to reach 2 million by the end of the selling season.
Government has also indicated that Zimbabwe was on course to resume grain exports to other countries next year if the same yields are achieved. Aggregate cereal output in Masvingo province in the last farming season was expected to surpass 300 000 tonnes but farmers keep part of the produce for their own consumption with surplus being sold to GMB. Masvingo is also expected to attain food self-sufficiency by shifting towards drought-tolerant small grains at the same time fully harnessing its vast irrigation potential anchored on the presence of numerous but under-utilised dams. Government is also vigorously pushing for the development of small to medium scale irrigation schemes tapping on abundant water bodies for supply of irrigation water.Government last year introduced the Command Agriculture Scheme that saw farmers getting agricultural inputs on credit while this year the programme will be expanded to cover more beneficiaries as the country seeks to become self-sufficient and a net food exporter.