Elita Chikwati, Harare Bureau
The Grain Marketing Board has now received 23 952 tonnes of maize since the beginning of the grain marketing season on April 1, almost three times the 8 952 tonnes delivered in the same period last year.
Grain deliveries are expected to intensify over the next few months when most farmers finish harvesting, drying and removing grain from cobs.
GMB chief executive, Mr Rockie Mutenha, yesterday said the parastatal was working towards assisting farmers across the country to deliver their grain without travelling long distances.
The GMB has opened collection points nearer to farmers and is helping farmers in testing moisture content, a critical measurement since too high a moisture content can rot maize in storage.
“We have received 23 952 tonnes of maize from farmers. Farmers have also delivered 195 tonnes of white sorghum, 28 tonnes of red sorghum, 48 tonnes of millet and 704 tonnes of soya beans. This season we are accepting maize with a moisture level of between 13 and 14 percent,” he said.
GMB normally accepts maize with a moisture content of 12,5 percent.
The producer price of maize has this season been set at $12 329,72 per tonne, traditional grains at $12 865,79 and soyabeans at $17 211,74.
Mr Mutenha said GMB was paying farmers within seven days so that they get value for their money.
GMB has introduced a Farmer Card to facilitate easy and prompt payments.
“Farmers are therefore urged to quickly register with their nearest GMB depots. Registration is done when the farmer delivers the grain,” he said.
By establishing collection points nearer to farmers, the GMB was curbing congestion at the depots in keeping with Covid-19 regulations.
Mr Mutenha said grain moisture standards were critical to ensure long-term storability and minimal post-harvest losses.
Farmers are encouraged to use ultra violet protected grain storage bags, which are available at GMB depots as the packaging material helps in meeting the required standards and reduces post-harvest losses.
Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri recently encouraged farmers to deliver their grain to GMB depots so they get their money and prepare for the next season early.
He noted that by delaying deliveries, farmers will be exposing their grain to post-harvest losses.
The grain can be stolen, burnt or infested by weevils.