7-months’ grain supply at GMB
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.