Source: $47m silos rehab begins | The Herald March 4, 2017
Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent
The Grain Marketing Board has started the rehabilitation of its 12 silos, with a target to complete the work just as the delivery season starts in April to accommodate the projected bumper harvest of at least 1,2 million tonnes of maize. There were concerns that the success of the Government-led Command Agriculture Programme, which boosted maize production countrywide, would be compromised by poor storage facilities.
Speaking after the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture and Mechanisation’s tour of GMB Aspindale depot yesterday, GMB acting general manager Mr Lawrence Jasi said the silos were at a reduced capacity because of wear and tear.
He said to complete the rehabilitation, GMB required $46 649 025 million in batches, but so far $11,2 million had been released.
The storage facilities were built in 1953.
“The rehabilitation will involve replacement or servicing of parts such as bearings, valves, motor rewinding and duct repairs,” said Mr Jasi.
“Overhauls will be done on the machinery to restore it to its rated capacity. Six sites which are Aspindale, Bulawayo, Banket, Lion’s Den, Concession and Chegutu will be overhauled.
“Bulawayo was completed in November, Aspindale and Banket will be completed by March 10, whilst Lion’s Den, Concession and Chegutu will be completed by April 15, just as intake starts.”
Mr Jasi said the rehabilitation of mechanical and electrical equipment on the silos involved the total replacement of outdated equipment and technology in the plant such as grain cleaners, gearboxes, bagging stations and electric motors used for grain conveyance, cleaning and storage.
“It also involves plant upgrade in line with technology advancement such as automation of the plant and grain quality monitoring systems such as grain level, temperature and moisture sensors.”
GMB has a storage capacity of 3 973 000 tonnes of maize in its silos, open space and sheds.
The total concrete silo (bulk) storage capacity is 749 500 tonnes and out of this capacity, 434 300 tonnes is usable in the current state, while 315 200 tonnes requires water proofing.
Open storage space, which is hard stands storage, has capacity to store over three million tonnes of bagged grain and all of which is usable, while shed storage capacity is 173 700 tonnes.
Mr Jasi said because of the bumper harvest, collection points would be opened within a radius of 40 kilometres, depending on intake projections per ward.
He said water proofing for the 315 200 tonnes silo space would begin this month and end in August.
This was after Treasury released $9 million for the upgrade and water proofing of the silo, against the required $15 495 141 million.
“The GMB wishes to assure the nation that it is prepared to receive marketable grains from the bumper crop output expected this season,” said Mr Jasi.
“This is following the success of the Command Agriculture Programme and support for households under the Presidential Inputs Scheme.
“We have 84 depots and several collection points across the country’s 10 provinces. The final crop assessment is not yet out, but with our projections of $390 per tonne, our projected target of 1,2 million is valued at $468 million.
“GMB was allocated $62,5 million and more resources are being mobilised through Treasury and Agriculture Marketing Authority bills.”
The portfolio committee chairperson and Muzarabani South legislator Cde Christopher Chitindi (Zanu-PF) said they were pleased with the progress being made, but said more funding was needed to ensure silos were rehabilitated on time.
“We are happy with the preparations so that our maize will be safe. GMB seems ready to receive maize for this coming season. However, more funds should be released for the purchase of more driers and sacks for maize.
“The roads need to be passable and be fixed on time, but I am told the relevant ministries are ceased with the matter.”