Maize deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) more than trebled to 116 929 tonnes in the first two months of the 2021 marketing season, from 33 515 metric tonnes recorded in the same period last year on improved payments to farmers, Business Times can report.
The marketing season kicked off on April 1, 2021.
The traditional grains deliveries have also surged 1630% to 8,913 tonnes from 515 tonnes during the same period last year while soyabean deliveries stood at 7,876 tonnes from 841 tonnes last year.
GMB chief executive officer Rockie Mutenha told Business Times that deliveries are expected to rise even more during the peak period of July to September given that most farmers were almost through with the harvesting.
“Given that we have witnessed a good harvest this season, we are expecting more deliveries to the GMB. Already, 116 929 metric tonnes had been delivered as of June 2 2021 against 33 515 tonnes during the same period last year,” Mutenha said.
He added: “All farmers were paid up as at May 31 2021 and we are paying our farmers within 72 hrs as we promised for grain delivered to our depots and five working days for grain delivered to our collection points.”
The Treasury has released ZWL$60bn towards the procurement of grain from farmers scattered around the country during the current grain selling season.
Mutenha said GMB was collecting grain from 87 depots dotted around the country.
He said GMB was making electronic payments at various depots to farmers with the board making its own electric card which has the same features with other bank cards.
Payments were made through bank transfers and mobile money platforms and farmer card wallets.
Several farmers told Business Times that GMB was offering the best price.
“It has been eight weeks since the starting of the selling season with the middlemen getting few maize as their price offering of US$3 per bucket is way lower than what the Grain Marketing Board is offering hence more farmers are favouring to deliver to the formal market.
“We are likely going to see reduced side marketing and see more maize going to the GMB,” a Goromonzi farmer Tapera Mativenga told Business Times.
Zimbabwe requires about two million metric tonnes of maize and the GMB is confident that the country will get past three million metric tonnes of grain.
This year, the country will cut down on grain imports of over US$500m.