'GMB silos not yet full'

HARARE - Despite government claims of a bumper harvest, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) silos in various provinces are not yet full with the national granary still accepting grain from farmers.

This comes amid claims by proponents of Command Agriculture and Presidential Input Scheme that GMB depots in many provinces are overflowing with the national granary battling to find space for grain crops that have flooded their depots.

Extremists of Command Agriculture have gone on to claim that they fear GMB will not have any space for wheat storage.

However, GMB general manager Rockie Mutenha yesterday rubbished the claims as false.

“The GMB would like to inform farmers that it is till still accepting deliveries of grain crops including small grains and soya beans,” Mutenha said in a statement.

“The GMB would like to put it on record as false allegations that it is not accepting any more grains as the silos are now full. This follows reports that unscrupulous elements within our society are peddling such falsehoods and therefore discouraging farmers to deliver o the national granary.

“The GMB, however, accepts grain that meets the required standards in terms of quality and moisture content of 12,5 percent and below. Farmers are encouraged to collect grain bags that are available at all GMB depots.”

GMB buys maize and small grains that include red sorghum, white sorghum, rapoko and millet at a uniform price of $390 per tonne.

Zimbabwe, which has struggled with food deficits since 2000 when President Robert Mugabe’s government seized white-owned farms to resettle blacks, has forecast production of the staple maize to reach 2, 1 million tonnes this year.

The country consumes 1,8 million tonnes of the grain, annually.

While government has played up prospects of a significant maize surplus, independent assessments suggest output could be lower than official projections of 2,1 million tonnes of maize.

Government has adjusted its forecast from earlier euphoric pronouncements of as much as three million tonnes this harvesting season.

Command Agriculture, initially set out to put 400 000 hectares under the crop, targeting a minimum 2 million tonnes in production, but only managed 153 000 hectares, according to official statistics.

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