7-months’ grain sup­ply at GMB

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Elita Chik­wati Harare Bu­reau

THE coun­try has grain re­serves to last seven months as farm­ers con­tinue to de­liver maize to the Grain Mar­ket­ing Board (GMB) de­pots, a Cab­i­net Min­is­ter has said.

Pre­sent­ing the Mid-Term Fis­cal pol­icy last Thurs­day, Fi­nance and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pa­trick Chi­na­masa said GMB cur­rently had 273 000 tonnes of maize in stock.

“This is in­clu­sive of im­ports, which at an ex-GMB off-take rate of 35 000 tonnes per month rep­re­sents seven months of GMB sales.

“Cu­mu­la­tive grain de­liv­er­ies to de­pots around the coun­try have reached 175 000 tonnes worth $68,3 mil­lion.

“The un-an­tic­i­pated de­liv­er­ies are at­trib­uted to our timeous pay­ment to farm­ers as they de­liver. Cur­rently, pay­ments are be­ing made within 14 days of de­liv­ery,” he said.

Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa said the Gov­ern­ment had paid $60,3 mil­lion to farm­ers for grain de­liv­ered to the GMB, and was cur­rently pro­cess­ing the bal­ance of $7,7 mil­lion.

He said this year’s es­ti­mated maize grain har­vest of 511 816 tonnes fell far short of the nor­mal na­tional grain re­quire­ment of 2,2 mil­lion tonnes.

Farm­ers are also ex­pected to har­vest 36 305 tonnes of sorghum and 27 461 tonnes of mil­let.

“On the other hand, the pri­vate sec­tor has so far im­ported 278 000 tonnes in the form of maize and mealie-meal, worth over $100 mil­lion,” he said.

Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa said de­vel­op­ment part­ners were also sup­port­ing Gov­ern­ment in mit­i­gat­ing the im­pact of the El Nino-in­duced drought.

“To this end,” he said, “de­vel­op­ment part­ners, who pledged $360 mil­lion un­der their Drought Re­sponse Plan for April 2016-March 2017, have as of July 2016 mo­bilised $110 mil­lion for im­por­ta­tion of grain.

“De­vel­op­ment part­ner sup­port is not only to­wards grain im­por­ta­tion, but is also fo­cus­ing on emer­gency re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of some ru­ral water sup­ply points for iden­ti­fied vul­ner­a­ble house­holds and school feed­ing, among oth­ers. In this re­gard, $1,5 mil­lion has been spent on health and nu­tri­tion, while $0,4 mil­lion went to­wards water and san­i­ta­tion.”

Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa ex­tended the Gov­ern­ment’s grat­i­tude for the as­sis­tance ren­dered by de­vel­op­ment part­ners, and for their un­wa­ver­ing sup­port to­wards com­ple­ment­ing the Gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts in re­spond­ing to the El Nino-in­duced drought.

Last year the coun­try ex­pe­ri­enced a se­vere drought, which af­fected crop pro­duc­tion.

Favourable rains are ex­pected dur­ing the 2016/17 rain­fall sea­son and, the Gov­ern­ment has come up with dif­fer­ent projects to boost agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion and en­sure na­tional food se­cu­rity.

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