MORE than 6 000 tonnes of maize have been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) during the first two months of this year’s marketing season.
Deliveries are expected to increase significantly in the coming weeks as mobile buying points are deployed near farming communities.
Farmers who deliver grain early are entitled to 30 percent of their payment in foreign currency, while the balance would be in local currency. The US-dollar incentive is calculated at the willing-buyer, willing-seller exchange rate on the date of delivery. The maize producer price is currently pegged at $58 553 per tonne.
A tonne of traditional grains is fetching $70 264 and an equal amount of soyabeans is being sold for $125 530.
Since the opening of the marketing season on April 1, farmers have delivered 700 tonnes of traditional grains and 164 tonnes of soyabeans. GMB chief executive officer Mr Rockie Mutenha told The Sunday Mail that the parastatal was accepting maize with higher moisture content this season to pave way for timeous winter wheat planting.
GMB is accepting maize with a 13,5 percent moisture content. It usually accepts maize with a moisture content of 12,5 percent.
“The false start to the season affected a lot of crops, forcing farmers to re-plant their crops.
“The crops matured late to the extent that most of them still have high moisture content,” he said.
“The expected national crop harvest is estimated at 1 557 914 tonnes, including that which will be delivered to GMB.
“However, it is still too early to predict what will be delivered to GMB although we saw an increase in deliveries in the last few days after the announcement of the 30 percent payment in forex.”
Mobile buying points allow for payment of farmers at collection points and an inputs-swap scheme for maize delivered.
Agriculture Technical and Extension Services (Agritex) director Mr Stancilae Tapererwa said Government had availed combine harvesters through the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) to help expedite harvesting maize and soyabeans.
“Some combine harvesters are being provided by the Agricultural Finance Corporation to farmers willing to make use of the facility to speed up their harvesting,” he said.
Government has set aside $52 billion for grain purchases this season, with the GMB undertaking to make payments within 72 hours of delivery.