Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has advised farmers that it is still accepting grain deliveries at its depots countrywide.
Predatory middlemen have been telling farmers that GMB is no longer taking grain since its silos are now full. There are concerns that some farmers have been duped into selling their crop at low prices to unscrupulous buyers, who later on sell to GMB.
In a statement yesterday, GMB general manager Mr Rockie Mutenha said GMB was still accepting grain, including small grains and soya beans. “GMB would like to put it on record as false allegations that it is not accepting any more grains as silos are now full,” he said.
“This follows reports that unscrupulous elements within our society are peddling such falsehoods and, therefore, discouraging farmers to deliver to the national granary.
“GMB is buying maize, red sorghum, white sorghum, rapoko and millet at $390 per tonne,” said Mr Mutenha. The parastatal is also buying soya beans at $610 per tonne.
“Efforts are being made to pay farmers, who would have delivered their grain to the GMB within the shortest possible time. “We, therefore, encourage farmers to continue delivering their grain crops at any GMB depots and collection points.
“The GMB, however, accepts grain that meets the required standards in terms of quality and moisture content of 12,5 percent. Farmers are encouraged to collect grain bags that are available at all GMB depots.”
In addition to 85 depots across the country, GMB established 1 882 collection points countrywide to enable farmers to deliver grain at the lowest possible price.
Meanwhile, weekly grain deliveries from communal, A1, old resettlement and commercial small-scale farmers have continued to increase.
Some cylindrical silos are full and the parastatal is now stocking grain on hard stands. The cylindrical silos have a capacity of 700 000 tonnes of grain, while the hard stands have the capacity of 3,3 million tonnes.
Zimbabwe expects to harvest four million tonnes of food crops from the 2016-17 agricultural season. The food crops include maize, sorghum, millet, roundnuts, groundnuts, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, cowpeas, squash, sugar beans and pumpkins.
The increase in food production has been attributed to the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme and Command Agriculture programme, good rains, farmers’ hard work and self-financed farmers.