THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB)’s maize deliveries for the current agricultural season plunged by 67% compared to the last season figures owing to a myriad of problems, among them a poor rainfall season and constraints in agriculture funding.
Statistics obtained from GMB by Southern Eye show that the entity received 81 190 metric tonnes of maize in the 2012-2013 season, down from 212 662 metric tonnes achieved in the previous season, registering the worst deliveries in the past three years.
In other words the maize intake for the 2012-2013 dropped by 168 602 metric tonnes from the 2011-2012 season of to 212 622 metric tonnes, representing a drop of about 40 000 metric tonnes from the 2010-2011 maize intake of 249 792.
“The 2012-2013 marketing year was characterised by low grain intakes compared to the past two marketing seasons,” a statement from GMB reads.
According to GMB, the highest cumulative maize intake during the period under review was achieved in Mashonaland West Province which recorded 47 282 metric tonnes while Matabeleland South Province was the lowest recording only 31 metric tonnes.
Cumulative payments for maize for this year amounted to $22,9 million while outstanding payments stood at $1 million as at March 31.
In the same period a total of 5 065 metric tonnes of wheat valued at $2,3 million was delivered. Payments for the wheat amounted to $1,8 million as of March 2013 with outstanding payments totalling $535 734.
The company said during this season, it faced several challenges, chief among them shortage of grain storage bags, poor storage infrastructure and transport logistics compounded by limited liquidity, as there were delays in receipts from Treasury.
GMB, however, said it had submitted a budget of $80 million to the government for maize intake purchases and grain storage resources that will include tarpaulins and gum poles to ensure that outdoor storage meets optimum storage requirements.
“We urge relevant authorities to release the strategic grain reserve resources on time to alleviate hunger and encourage grain deliveries and above all to give confidence to farmers to continue producing the staple crop,” the company added in a statement.
GMB, however, is projecting marketable surplus of maize of 100 000 metric tonnes in the 2013-2014 season, although indicating that this was on condition that they would be timeous disbursement of funds.
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