Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has so far, installed dryers at seven depots to deal with moisture content of delivered grain.
Four more dryers are expected to be installed this month end.
Over the years GMB has been battling grain rot caused by high moisture content in delivered grain.
GMB is yet to start receiving grain from farmers as the company was conducting stock take although the grain marketing season starts on April 1 of every year.
The dryers will also help farmers to harvest their crops and plant winter crops, but still attain the moisture content required by the GMB.
The dryers are being installed at depots with silos and in high maize and wheat producing areas.
The GMB only accepts maize with a moisture content of 12,5 percent, but farmers do complain. The depots with driers or soon to have them include: Concession, Banket, Lions Den, Karoi, Aspindale, Murehwa, Norton, Chegutu, Kwekwe, Bulawayo, Middle Sabi and Marondera.
GMB acting chief executive Mr Clemence Guta said: “GMB currently has installed seven dryers and four more are expected to be installed in a few weeks’ time.
“This year’s marketing season commenced on April 1, but because of stock take that commenced on March 31 up to 4 April 2022 we were not receiving any grains, but we expect farmers to start delivering their 2021/22 crop from today onwards.
“GMB will be paying $58 553,25 for every tonne of maize delivered as announced in December last year. Traditional grains will be paid $70 263,90 per tonne, soya beans $125 530,17 per tonne and sunflower $150 682,20 per tonne.”
Mr Guta said the parastatal was ready to buy 1,5 million tonnes of grain from farmers for stocks, but this year was not aware of the final estimated figure as the second and final crop assessment was not yet out.
“Since production was affected by a prolonged dry spell in the middle of the season we await to hear the results of the second crop assessment to figure out how much of local maize can we expect to buy from farmers.
“If the numbers are low the GMB is also mandated to import grain on behalf of Government to assure food security,” he said.
Farmers planted 1 903 669 hectares of maize, 344 842ha of sorghum, 157 635ha pearl millet, 23 938ha finger millet, 17 318ha of sunflower and 61 961ha of soyabean.
The 2021/22 season was marked by a false start to the season in some areas of the country, a late onset of the season in others and in most areas unevenly distributed rainfall both in space and time.
The second crop and livestock assessment report is underway and this will inform the country of the expected yields.