THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has received a total of 1,14 metric tonnes (mt) of maize as at November 1, 2018, a report has noted.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
According to a report prepared by the Justice Mayor Wadyajena-led Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, the country was food secure despite signs of a looming drought this year.
“As at November 1, 2018, 1 138 322mt of maize, inclusive of 318 673mt under command agriculture, was delivered for the current marketing season beginning April 1, 2018.
In total, maize stocks were 1 323 593mt, including the strategic grain reserve of 500 000 mt. The country is food secure up to the next harvest,” the report noted.
The committee noted that cumulative deliveries increased from 59 844mt for the week ending October 25, 2018 to 80 353mt for the week ending November 1, 2018.
“It is projected that total production will be 121 708mt, which falls far short of the 186 243mt achieved during the 2017 winter wheat season. There will be increased import requirements to satisfy national demand,” the report read in part.
“Despite erratic rains at the start of the season, total cereal production estimates for 2018 were 1 836 145mt against a requirement of
1 735 145mt. There were deficits for sugar beans, cowpeas and sweet potato production.”
The committee said there was a significant increase in strategic cash crop production, for instance, tobacco production increased from 188 886mt to 252 498mt, cotton increased from 126 995mt to 130 548mt.
Soya beans increased by 67% from 35 744mt to 59 772mt, and this was attributed to the support given to farmers by government.
The ministry’s 2018 budget originally sat at $499 343 million and was later revised to $811 586 million.
As of September 30, the ministry received a total of $572,6 million, which translates to 70% of the revised budget.
“The disbursements mainly went towards employment costs, with only 4% spend on operational costs. The ministry did not comply with the Public Finance Management Act in submitting the quarterly budget performance report,” the committee said.
“Employment costs showed increases of up to 149%, which is an indication that the line item was initially under budgeted,” the committee added.
The ministry has an approved establishment of 14 809 employees