The latest harvest of maize, traditional grains and soya bean has started with farmers having now delivered more than 11 500 tonnes of all grains to Grain Marketing Board depots.
The grain marketing season opened on April 1, but a few farmers at that stage had started harvesting because most had to wait for the late rains to start planting. As a result, most farmers have not yet finished harvesting their summer crops.
GMB is helping farmers by accepting their grain even with a moisture content of 13 to 14 percent instead of the stipulated maximum of 12,5 percent.
GMB chief executive, Mr Rockie Mutenha yesterday said farmers had delivered maize, traditional grains and soya bean and he was paying them promptly, within five days at the most.
“Farmers have started delivering their grain to the GMB depots. As at May 15, farmers had delivered 11 202 tonnes of maize, 75 tonnes of traditional grains and 450 tonnes of soya bean. All these have been paid up for within three to five days of delivery,” he said.
“We have teams who are on the ground visiting commercial farmers to assist with moisture content testing.
“This year even at 13 or 14 percent moisture content we are accepting the grain so that those farmers willing to grow wheat can clear their lands,” he said.
But Mr Mutenha also urged farmers to use dryers for drying their crop.
Farmers can 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.
Government announced a producer price of $ 12 329,72 per tonne of maize, $ 12 865,79 per tonne for traditional grains of sorghum, millet and rapoko, and $ 17 211,74 per tonne for soya bean.
The GMB has also opened more collection points throughout the country to ensure that farmers do not travel long distances to deliver their produce and do not see their profits eaten by transport costs.
More local delivery also reduces congestion at depots in keeping with World Health Organisation recommendations.
Grain moisture standards are critical to ensure long-term storability and minimal post-harvest losses.
Farmers are also encouraged to use UV protected grain storage bags, which are available at the GMB depots as the packaging material helps in meeting the required standards and reduces post-harvest losses.
Government has also advised farmers to deliver their grain to the GMB to get the value of money.