Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri has urged farmers to deliver grain to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots to get value for money and adequately prepare for the next season.
There is a concern that some farmers are withholding their maize in anticipation of a producer price increase, while others are complaining that they have never received a price adjustment.
Minister Shiri said delivering grain to GMB had several advantages to farmers as they would be able to procure their inputs early.
He said GMB had continued to improve the payment system and now farmers were being paid within seven days of delivery.
“When coming up with a producer price, we also consider inputs prices. Farmers may delay sending their grain to the GMB waiting for price increases.
“The price may appear attractive, but farmers should also take note that inputs prices will have also increased due to inflation.
“Our official rate is 1:25. When the exchange rate changes, Government may be forced to adjust prices. This may look attractive, but prices of goods will also have increased,” he said.
Minister Shiri noted that by delaying to sell, farmers will be exposing their grain to post harvest losses.
The grain can be stolen, burnt or infested by weevils.
The 2020/21 grain marketing season started on April 1 with Government announcing a producer of $ 12 329,72 per tonne of maize, $ 12 865, 79 per tonne for traditional grains (sorghum, millet and rapoko) and $ 17 211,74 per tonne for soyabeans.
GMB chief executive Mr Rockie Mutenha said the board had introduced a Farmer Card to facilitate easy and prompt payments.
Farmers are therefore urged to quickly register with their nearest GMB depots. Registration is done when the farmer delivers the grain.
“We encourage farmers to deliver their grain directly to GMB and take advantage of the value of the new producer prices.
“The GMB has also opened collection points at different centres throughout the country to ensure that farmers do not travel long distances to deliver their produce.
“Farmers will cut on transport costs as well as reduce congestion at depots in keeping with World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation on social distancing to avoid the spread of coronavirus,” said Mr Mutenha.
He advised farmers to take a representative sample of about 2kg of their grain for testing for moisture content at their nearest GMB depot and this service is free of charge for farmers who deliver their grain to GMB.
“Grain standards are critical to ensure long-term storability and minimal post-harvest losses.
“Farmers are also encouraged to use UV protected grain storage bags that meet the required standards and reduce post-harvest losses. The bags are available at all GMB depots,” he said.