Over 1 000 tonnes of maize from the 2016/17 agricultural season have been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) since the beginning of the month, the State’s grain procurer has said.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
Speaking at the maize value chain conference in Harare last week, GMB acting general manager, Lawrence Jasi said harvesting of crops under the 2016/2017 agriculture season began early this month and farmers under command agriculture have started deliveries to GMB.
“Farmers have started deliveries for maize for the 2016/2017 agriculture season and the deliveries began on the first of April 2017. To date, we have received a total of 1 333 tonnes of maize from farmers,” he said.
Command agriculture was launched last year under a $500 million fund.
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the government is buying the maize at $390 per tonne, which is above international prices.
“With regards to the maize harvest for 2016/2017 agriculture season, government has made sure that storage facilities of up to four million tonnes are made available, as well as dryers to reduce maize moisture content to acceptable levels, to free the land for winter crops,” he said.
Mnangagwa said funds have been secured to pay farmers for their produce, buoyed by these successes.
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He said the government intended to extend command agriculture to livestock, and cotton, soya beans, wheat and other high value crops capable of earning the country foreign currency.
“Preparations for winter wheat are now in full swing,” he said.
Mnangagwa said the important lesson emerging from the 2016/2017 summer agriculture season was that there is need to maximise on the distribution of inputs for the 2017/2018 season so that by August 2017, all farmers participating in command agriculture, presidential input scheme and any other organised support programmes would have acquired inputs.
The country is expecting a harvest of 2,1 million tonnes of maize for the 2016/2017 agriculture season.