George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
The Grain Marketing Board now has more than one million tonnes of grain in stock, amid hope that the figure will double by the end of August as farmers intensify deliveries to the national grain buyer following a successful 2017 /18 farming season.
Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Davis Marapira said out of the one million tonnes of maize now in GMB stocks, 300 000 tonnes had been delivered since the start of the maize marketing season this year.
He said 700 000 tonnes were a carry-over from last year’s grain that was stored by GMB.
“We now have more than one million tonnes of maize at GMB and the bulk of the maize was carry-over from last year with new maize stocks of 300 000 tonnes having been delivered since April this year when the 2017/ 18 farming season ended,” he said.
“We are expecting GMB maize stocks to double to two million tonnes from mid to end of August when grain deliveries will intensify as more farmers harvest.”
Cde Marapira urged farmers to make sure their maize has the required moisture content before taking it to GMB depots.
He said trying to deliver high-moisture content maize to GMB will backfire as farmers will be forced to transport their produce back home.
“I am appealing to our farmers to make sure their grain has attained the required moisture content because doing otherwise will see their grain being rejected at GMB depots dotted around the country,” said Cde Marapira.
“Farmers are encouraged even to use traditional methods of drying their grain to make sure it attains the required moisture content.
“Farmers should also secure grain dryers to dry their maize before delivery to GMB.”
Cde Marapira warned farmers against delivering their crop to unscrupulous middlemen as they end up being paid way below the $390 per tonne offered by GMB.
Zimbabwe’s food security has been improving over the last two years on the back of a boom in output of the staple maize crop thanks to Government’s Command Agriculture programme that seeks to make the country a net food exporter.