GMB targets 1 800 collection points Minister Dr Anxious Masuka

Farirai Machivenyika

Senior Reporter

The Grain Marketing Board (GMB)will establish over 1 800 collection points countrywide in light of the expected bumper harvest due to the good rains received this cropping season, and is negotiating with Cottco to use some of its facilities.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka said this yesterday during the National Assembly question time.

“The GMB envisages to open 1 800 collection points countrywide and negotiations with Cottco are ongoing for their depots to be used for dual collection (of cotton and grain),” he said.

This year’s maize harvest is expected to surpass that of 1,8 million tonnes recorded in the 2016/2017 season.

Dr Masuka said the first and second rounds of the crop and livestock assessment results would be released at the end of this month and March respectively.

On Tuesday, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr John Basera, told the Senate Thematic Committee on Sustainable Development Goals that the country has put over 2,7 million hectares of land under various crops from a set target of 3,02 million hectares.

Statistics show that as at February 13, the country had planted 2 796 275ha from a target of 3 020 000ha with the current hectarage above the 2 435 235 planted in 2019.

The country has surpassed the target set for maize with farmers planting 1 768 062ha from a target of 1,5 million hectares while 71 591ha has been put under soya bean from a target of 120 000ha although it’s an improvement from the 34 500ha planted in 2019.

For cotton 393 317ha have been planted from a target of 450 000ha although its higher than the 174 212ha obtained in 2019.

Hectarage of other crops planted this season are sorghum 307 510ha, pearl millet 137 303ha, sunflower 10 954ha and tobacco at 107 558ha.

Dr Basera, however, hailed the performance of small-holder farmers under the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme after they planted 216 000ha of maize which is over 15 percent of the total hectarage under the crop.

“This year we are expected good yields due to the rains we have received and even the projections for the winter wheat programme with our most of our major dams being 87 percent full while inflows into Kariba are improving which augurs well for electricity generation,” he said.

As for livestock, Dr Basera said a total of 445 000kg of tick grease had been distributed out of a target of one million kg as part of efforts to deal with the January disease that has decimated animals in various communities across the country.

He also said plans were also underway to resuscitate dysfunctional dip tanks.

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