Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter—
Deliveries of grains to Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots have intensified, as Government calls on the parastatal to accept all crops it is mandated to purchase. The major crops being delivered to the GMB depots are maize, sorghum, finger millet and rapoko. Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made said the deliveries surpassed those of the past few years.
- Grain deliveries up
- July maize deliveries to top 500 000t
- Half a billion dollars for Command Agric
- GMB gets $200m for grain purchase
- Zimbabwe expects 2,7m tonnes of maize
- Command Agric deliveries begin
- Govt suspends grain imports
“To date, we have taken delivery of new maize, already surpassing total intake of last year by this time,” he said. “We are just about a quarter of what we are anticipating.
“Farmers are also beginning to deliver groundnuts, roundnuts and oil seeds such as soyabeans. Clear instructions have been given to the GMB to accept all crops that they are mandated to purchase, so that no farmers are denied to market the produce they would have chosen to deliver.”
Dr Made said next season, the Presidential Inputs Scheme will include sugarbeans, cowpeas, groundnuts, roundnuts and other related pulses, while soyabeans will be taken under Command Agriculture.
He said GMB silos were getting full, particularly in Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central.
“The GMB must make sure grain bags are distributed to all farmers, whether A1, communal or large scale or whether under Command Agriculture, Presidential Inputs Scheme or self financed,” said Dr Made.
“GMB must distribute grain bags because in some cases where there is no capacity to take bulk grain, the farmers will now take the grain in bags. GMB should accept the grain, whether in GMB grain bags nor not. If the farmer is using own bags, they should be of good quality so that the grain is not lost.”
Dr Made said the cylindrical silos had the capacity to take 700 000 tonnes of grain, while the hard surface and tarpaulin had the capacity of 3,3 million tonnes.
“In some cases, we have to assist farmers temporarily with tarpaulins on their farms,” he said. “It is the farmers’ responsibility to distribute grain to the GMB.”
Dr Made urged GMB officials, extension workers and those from the department of mechanisation under the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development to assist farmers at provincial level.
He said the country was coming towards the end of winter and rains might fall and affect crops not yet harvested.
“I am pleased that all farmers, including those into tobacco, cotton, grains and livestock are working hard,” he said.
“The mood is just good and I am happy with the levels of land preparations for the coming summer cropping season.
“I am concerned that supply of lime and gypsum is a bit behind. We must move with speed to ensure every farmer from every sector takes liming seriously. Because of the heavy rains and the high yields being achieved, we must take care of our soils.”
Dr Made urged farmers to be on high alert for pests and diseases.
“The moisture content is now coming to the correct levels, but we should also be alert on fires,” he said. “I appeal to the Ministry of Home Affairs to assist us across the country, as some people may deliberately start fires while others may also vandalise electricity infrastructure.”