The Grain Marketing Board took delivery of a record 1,5 million tonnes of grain in the 2017/18 marketing season following a bumper harvest experienced last year after Government introduced the Command Agriculture programme.
Addressing the media during a tour of the GMB Masvingo Depot on Tuesday, the parastatal’s manager for the Eastern region, Mr Tawonga Mukuvara said maize constituted about 1,2 million tonnes of the grain delivered by farmers nationwide.
The remaining 300 000 tonnes comprised small grains such as sorghum, millet and rapoko among others.
Mr Mukuvara expressed satisfaction with grain deliveries to 84 GMB depots dotted around the country following a bumper harvest in the 2016/17 farming season.
He said GMB last received huge quantities of maize in the 1994/95 marketing season when deliveries hit a record high of 1 199 045 tonnes of maize.
“As a result of Government support to farmers through the Command Agriculture programme, the GMB has been able to receive record quantities of grain.
“At the moment we are on nationwide programme to educate farmers on how to dry and store their grain before they deliver it to the GMB.
“We encourage farmers to liaise with the GMB Quality Assurance Department to avoid cases of post-harvest loses due to insects and moisture,’’ Mr Mukuvara said.
GMB has previously clashed with farmers after rejecting their grain due to high moisture content levels.
‘’We would like to inform our farmers that the expected moisture level for maize in particular should be 12 percent or below to enable bulk storage.
“The issue of national food security is not about keeping mountains and mountains of grain that is not fit for human consumption. It must be quality- assured food,’’ said Mr Mukuruva.
Turning to the food security situation in Masvingo, Mr Mukuruva said the GMB Masvingo depot had sufficient maize stocks to feed the 45 wards in both rural and urban areas of Masvingo District.
Mr Mukuruva also said distribution of winter wheat inputs was expected to start next month.
He revealed that Government was in the process of establishing concrete silos at all GMB depots countrywide to facilitate storage of grain.
Currently only 12 out of the 84 GMB depots have silos with the rest relying on tents and shades.
Government availed $36 million to the GMB during the 2018/18 marketing season to improve storage facilities at the depots.
The purpose of the media tour was to disseminate information to the public on the successes and challenges that were faced by the GMB during the 2017/18 marketing season which lapses on April1, 2018.