Govt to review maize moisture content

Source: Govt to review maize moisture content | The Herald June 23, 2017

Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Government will investigate the Grain Marketing Board for rejecting maize because of high moisture content and may also consider waiving the 12,5 percent requirement for grain meant for milling, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Dr Joseph Made has said. GMB accepts grain with a moisture content of not more than 12,5 percent.

The minister was responding to questions in the National Assembly from legislators on Wednesday on the rejection of grain by GMB.

Cde Goodluck Kwaramba (Proportional Representative) asked Dr Made what plans were underway to ensure the grain rejected for high moisture content would not end up being sold on the parallel market.

Dr Made said most farmers had grown long season varieties and because of the incessant rains, the grain had not dried completely.

He said there were fears that when farmers are turned away, they could sell the grain to “middlemen” who could later deliver the same maize to the GMB and this shortchanged farmers.

“I am going back to investigate this issue with GMB. There are times when we say 12 and a half to 13 percent moisture content but our fear is that if we have a lot of grain with that moisture content of 13 percent, it will rot in our granaries.

“We want to look at the grain that is going for milling and waive the 12,5 percent. We also do not want the GMB to pay for the moisture weight or excess moisture; we should have a good balance on that,” he said.

Other legislators asked why GMB officers were not going to test the grain for moisture content at the collection points and why there were no driers.

Dr Made said there were plans to assist farmers with driers.

He said there were some areas were driers were available but the equipment was now obsolete

“These are places where farmers are but some of the driers are not functioning and are being resuscitated especially those in the A1 and A2 areas. This year’s harvest irrespective of whether it is from A1 or A2, countrywide we have maize that has completely dried.

“I agree that farmers should not take their grain to GMB to wait in long queues, especially those who want to store their grain in silos. It would be proper for it to be collected and tested. I am saying the GMB should disburse sacks to farmers in time for them to store their grain for ease of transportation,” he said.

Dr Made said that samples should be collected from collection points so that farmers do not waste time travelling only to be turned away.”

“There are a lot of things that a farmer takes into consideration in growing his crop. Once his harvest is ripe, most farmers will be afraid of veld fires. We have had police reports that some farmers are engaging in arson, so we should help the farmers so that they harvest their crops in time,” Dr Made said.