Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Farmers flock to GMB to deliver grain

Farmers flock to GMB to deliver grain
Minister Joseph Made

Minister Joseph Made

Chronicle Reporters
HUNDREDS of farmers are flocking to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots countrywide to deliver grain from bumper harvests obtained under the highly successful Command Agriculture and Presidential Input Support Scheme.

The Chronicle visited the Bulawayo depot where it observed a long queue of delivery trucks bringing grain to the facility.

Sources at the depot said despite hectic business, deliveries were yet to reach a peak as most grain still has high moisture content.

“Most farmers are still waiting for their maize to properly dry up because if they send their grain to GMB still highly moisturised, they will not get a good deal. So farmers should be very patient and ensure that their maize has dried up,” said an agricultural extension officer who declined to be named.

GMB’s Corporate Communications Manager, Mrs Muriel Zemura, said the parastatal cannot provide statistics regarding the delivery of grain to its depots.

“For accountability purposes, we were instructed to send daily delivery statistics to the Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development who are co-ordinating the programme,” said Mrs Zemura.

A total of 14 911 tonnes of grain had been delivered at 10 GMB depots in the Midlands yesterday.

Of the delivered tonnage – 4 556 tonnes are under the Command Agriculture programme while 10 355 are from Presidential Input Support Scheme. Under small grains-366 tonnes had been delivered.

Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Jason Machaya said in an interview yesterday that farmers under the Command Agriculture programme and the Presidential Input Support Scheme were still delivering maize and small gains at GMB depots.

He said to ease the burden of transportation and mass storage of grain by the GMB depots — there were 441 collection points in the province to enable easy purchasing and transportation of grain.

“As of today (yesterday), a total of 14 911 tonnes of maize and 366 tonnes of small grain had been delivered at GMB depots. 4 556 tonnes are under Command Agriculture and 10 911 are under the Presidential Input Support Scheme. From the collection points the maize will then be taken to 10 GMB depots in the province,” he said.

When a Chronicle news crew arrived at the GMB Gweru Depot yesterday afternoon — stocks of maize had been piled and covered with sails outside the storerooms which were said to be full.

Haulage trucks were still delivering maize.

An employee at the depot, on condition of anonymity, said: “At Gweru we haven’t encountered moisture content problems as had been reported in other areas. So far so good as we anticipate more deliveries from the farmers.”

In Gwanda, grain deliveries have increased steadily.

Although the quantity that has been delivered so far was not readily available, scores of trucks were delivering grain at the depot.

Two intake ramps for the grain had been established at the depot in anticipation of large grain quantities.

An employee at the depot who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “Our team is on the ground testing the moisture content as we anticipate huge volumes of grain to be delivered. Farmers in the province and Gwanda in particular had a bumper harvest due to the good rains which fell in the last rainy season”.

In Matabeleland North, maize deliveries in Nkayi have been slow because of high moisture content.

Farmers delivered grain then slowed down but the depot expects that deliveries will improve as the grain dries up.

The challenge, farmers told The Chronicle, is that delivery is slow as farmers do not have mechanised dryers.

In Binga, the last delivery was on July 6 and it was 20 tonnes. A total of 119,5 tonnes of maize have been delivered in the province to date.

Meanwhile, farmers have delivered over 230 000 tonnes of maize to the Grain Marketing Board with the bulk coming from Mashonaland West and Central provinces.

The maize delivered is nearly half the total maize harvest in 2016 with the country expecting over 2,1 million tonnes this year owing to a combination of the good rains received this season and Government programmes such as Command Agriculture and the Presidential Inputs Scheme.

In total the country is expecting 4 million tonnes.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made gave the update on grain deliveries during the Senate’s question time yesterday.“At least 230 000 tonnes of maize towards the strategic grain reserve has been delivered and it has come mainly from Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central. The maize is mainly from the big farmers and we expect more once the A1 and the communal farmers start delivering,” Dr Made said.

GMB is paying $390 per tonne.

Dr Made said Government would ensure timely payment of grain delivered.

“We are fully prepared to pay the farmers on time and farmers should have bank accounts so that once the grain is delivered the money is deposited into their accounts. The money should reflect in their accounts between one to two weeks from date of delivery,” he said.

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