Obert Chifamba Manicaland Bureau
Maize deliveries to Mutare Grain Marketing Board (GMB) have reached 60 000 tonnes, with more still expected to come, The Herald has established. In an interview yesterday, Manicaland provincial district administrator Mr Edgars Seenza said more maize was still expected to be delivered, as many farmers had delayed sending their maize to GMB because they were waiting for it to dry to the right moisture content levels. GMB accepts maize with 12,5 percent moisture content for safe storage.
“We are expecting this current tonnage to be surpassed, as more maize will be coming. Many farmers could not send their grain earlier because the prolonged wet spell that characterised last season made it difficult for them to dry their grain to the required moisture content levels. Those rains, plus low levels of heat, made it almost impossible for most grain to dry properly, hence the delayed deliveries,” he said.
Mr Seenza said the goings-on at the GMB were a clear demonstration that farmers were acting in good faith to the arrangement they made with Government, in which Government provided inputs and the farmers utilised them fully with the objective of boosting food security.
“I am happy that I have not received reports of side marketing, as farmers seem to be honouring their part of the bargain religiously and delivering that grain, which is earmarked to come as payment of their loans. As Government, I hope we will also be able to improve on our performance in the debut Command Agriculture season and this time around complete distribution of inputs timeously so that farmers do not miss special planting dates. Government needs to correct all the challenges that we faced last time so that we perform better than last season. I will soon be getting reports on how the preparation are going on, but we have since set the ball rolling by registering farmers early and getting the process of distributing inputs under way spontaneously,” he said.
Maize deliveries to the Mutare GMB hit 39 000 tonnes in August and the leap to 60 000 tonnes is a testimony that an even bigger tonnage can be achieved, thanks to Command Agriculture. Government has since expanded the list of crops to be produced under Command Agriculture to include soya bean, wheat, sorghum, tobacco and sugar beans. The programme has also been extended to cover livestock. Just recently, Manicaland Province launched its first Command Water Harvesting programme in Buhera District, which happens to be one of the driest regions in the country.