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THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has so far established 1 250 buying points out of the targeted 1 800 across the country to facilitate smooth grain deliveries by farmers.

Following the good rains in the last cropping season, Zimbabwe expects to record between 2,5 million to 2,8 million tonnes of maize and 360  000 tonnes of traditional grains, the largest yield to be achieved by the country since the fast-track Land Reform programme in 2000.

This year’s grain marketing season commenced on April 1 with over 354 000 tonnes of maize having been delivered to GMB so far.

Speaking during a virtual symposium on grain protection organised by SeedCo last Friday, GMB quality assurance manager Mr Charles Muchechemera said they have 88 depots countrywide.

“Over and above that, so far we have identified 1 250 collection points but we are still identifying more collection points that we can still open so that farmers can deliver their produce.

“These collection points are located within wards so that farmers can access and deliver their produce to our centres,”

he said, adding that each depot can operate collection points relative to quantity of grain produced in the area.

When delivering to the grain utility, Mr Muchechemera urged farmers to ensure their grain does not surpass the stipulated moisture content. Maize, wheat, sorghum, millet, cowpeas, round nuts and pop corn moisture content should not exceed 12,5 percent, soya beans and sugar beans (11 percent), unshelled groundnuts (9 percent), sunflower (9,5 percent) and sesame (6 percent).

GMB has advised farmers to take samples of their grain to the nearest depots for moisture content testing before delivery to avoid rejections at the point of delivery.

“The service is offered at no cost to the farmers,”

said Mr Muchechemera.

“There are key factors that determine the quality of grain and most of these are within the control of the farmer. These include grain moisture content, extraneous matter, broken grain, diseased and insect damaged grain.

“Drying is achieved easily with unshelled or unthreshed grain because air can circulate more easily around the grain than when shelled.”

This year, GMB’s mandate has been expanded under the Government’s Agriculture and Food Transformative Strategy, to ensure that farmers who benefited from Government programmes like the Pfumvudza/Intwasa and Command Agriculture deliver to the parastatal.

Last year, GMB received 259 345 tonnes of maize after the season was hampered by drought. To curb side-marketing, GMB this marketing season is paying farmers within 72 hours of delivery to the depot and within five days if the produce is delivered through the collection points. — @okazunga.

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