THE Grain Marketing Board has taken delivery of more than 54 000 tonnes of maize over the first seven weeks of the grain marketing season, with communal farmers leading the pack.
Deliveries are expected to increase over the next few weeks when most farmers are expected to have completed harvesting and the grain moisture content reach acceptable levels.
GMB chief executive Mr Rockie Mutenha told The Sunday Mail that delivery of traditional grains was also gathering pace.
He said: “As at 19 May the GMB had received 53 706 metric tonnes of maize, 5 619 metric tonnes of traditional grains and 5 070 metric tonnes of soya beans.”
The grain marketing season opened on April 1 at nearly 1 400 buying points that have been set up countrywide, while an additional 400 are being established as the season progresses. All 84 GMB depots have begun operating daily, including on weekends, to facilitate uninterrupted grain deliveries.
The grain utility is paying $32 000 for a tonne of maize, $48 000 for a tonne of soya bean and $38 000 for traditional grains.
Government has set aside $60 billion to ensure timely payment of farmers, with the GMB undertaking to effect payments to farmers within 72 hours of delivery.
Those who deliver their grain to mobile collection points will be paid within five days.
Mr Mutenha said inputs for winter wheat production were being distributed in every district countrywide.
“Farmers are urged to approach their respective Agritex officers who will advise of which programme that they can benefit from either the Pfumvudza/Intwasa Presidential Inputs Scheme or the CBZ Agro Yield that is also known as Command Agriculture.
“They then come to GMB to collect the required inputs.
“All 87 GMB depots are issuing inputs, meaning distribution of inputs is well spread as every district of the country is covered.
“Quite a substantial number of inputs has been disbursed and we continue disbursing.”
More than 85 000 hectares will be put under the cereal this winter, with over 60 000 hectares being supported through the CBZ Agro-Yield scheme, while an additional 15 000 hectares will be funded through various private sector schemes. At least 10 000 hectares will be put under wheat through the inaugural Presidential Winter Wheat Scheme, which will witness scores of small scale farmers with access to irrigation moving into winter wheat farming.
This year’s projected harvest of 360 000 tonnes is anticipated to be the largest since commercial wheat farming started in the 1960s.