11 August 2018

Zimbabwe: Don't Deliver Wet Grain, Farmers Told

Government has advised maize farmers to be patient and wait for their grain to attain the correct moisture content before delivering it to the Grain Marketing Board.

The call comes in the wake of some farmers who were alleging that GMB officials were refusing to accept their maize because it had high moisture content.

Some farmers were accusing GMB officials of deliberately rejecting their maize to force them to sell it to middlemen at low prices and these would later sell the same grain to GMB at $390 per tonne.

GMB accepts maize with 12,5 moisture content.

Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Davis Marapira yesterday said it was wrong for GMB officials to deliberately refuse to accept grain, but also cautioned farmers against delivering grain with high moisture content.

He said farmers should be patient and take their time to dry their grain as the parastatal was going to buy all grain from farmers to reduce imports.

"Farmers should not rush to deliver their grain to the GMB before testing its moisture content," said Deputy Minister Marapira. "It will be embarrassing and costly to the farmer. I advise farmers to take genuine samples of their maize to their nearest GMB depot or collection point for moisture content testing before delivering it.

"If GMB accepts grain with high moisture content it will rot and the nation will incur losses. Farmers should take genuine samples of almost every bag of maize they want to deliver. It is not advisable to deliver grain which is wet.

"For instance, there have been some showers in some areas such as Masvingo. If the grain is affected by rain, it becomes moist and it will not be reasonable to deliver it in that state."

Deputy Minister Marapira said some of the maize crop was affected by fall armyworm last season and urged farmers to grade and remove the affected kernels as delivering such grain would result in it being downgraded.

If the grain is downgraded farmers will not get the $390 producer price.

GMB has received more than 590 000 tonnes of grain since the opening of the marketing season on April 1.

GMB general manager Mr Rockie Mutenha said this year, the parastatal had acquired moisture contents meters to test for moisture content at all depots and collection points.

GMB is buying maize, red sorghum, white sorghum, rapoko and millet at $390 per tonne.

The parastatal is also buying soyabeans at $780 per tonne.

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