Munyaradzi Musiiwa , Midlands Correspondent
FARMERS have so far delivered 1,1 million tonnes of maize to the Strategic Grain Reserves at the Grain Marketing Board, an official has said.
Addressing farmers during Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union (ZFU) conference in Gweru last week, GMB deputy general manager (operations), Mr Lawrence Jasi said more maize was still expected and the figure will likely surpass last year’s 1,2 million deliveries.
“I want to thank you farmers for bumper harvests this year and last year. Let me congratulate you because you have managed to avert hunger in the country. Last year we received 1,2 million tonnes of maize and this year we have so far received 1,1 million tonnes and more maize is still to be delivered,” he said.
Mr Jasi said GMB had adequate stocks to sustain the country until the next harvesting period. He said the country had an annual demand of close to 1,8 million tonnes annually.
“We have adequate grain at the moment considering that farmers do not sell all their produce to GMB particularly communal farmers. As GMB we are putting up driers in all provinces so that we deal will issues of moisture content. We are not going to export any maize now that we have heard that there will be El Nino,” he said.
Mr Jasi said GMB was paying farmers within two days of maize delivery at GMB after securing close to $75 million to purchase maize.
“The latest that we have paid was in two weeks and in most cases it will be issues to do with farmers’ bank accounts. Some use old dysfunctional accounts, some fill in wrong bank account details and as a result the payment is delayed. If you don’t receive your payment within two weeks at most approach your GMB depot,” he said.
Meanwhile, cotton farmers have delivered more than 138 million kilogrammes to cotton merchants this season. Addressing the same meeting, Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA) acting chief executive officer, Mrs Nancy Zitsanza said there has been a significant increase in cotton production from last year.
Mrs Zitsanza said last year cotton farmers delivered more than 75 million kilogrammes of cotton to merchants compared to 138 million kilogrammes delivered this year. She said more than 300 000 farmers and approximately one million people are relying on cotton farming in Zimbabwe. Mrs Zitsanza said local cotton was rated third in the world in terms of quality.
“There are many people who rely on cotton production. Our cotton is now highly regarded in terms of quality. It is also on demand and there has been under-production of cotton in the country. The crop has the potential of generating foreign currency,” she said.
Mrs Zitsanza said the Government has started distributing cotton seed ahead of the summer cropping season to ensure that farmers are not inconvenienced and enable increased productivity. Mrs Zitsanza said the Government has put in place a statutory instrument that compels merchants to grade cotton so that there is increased quality.
“We have four grades that is A,B,C and D. Farmers should receive grading results from merchants. All merchants should grade cotton. They do this under Government supervision and monitoring. A better grade fetches more,” she said.
Farmers have so far delivered 1,1 million tonnes of maize to the Strategic Grain Reserves at the Grain Marketing Board