Chegutu Depot Accident Media Release

The Government plans to spend more than US

The GOVERNMENT plans to spend more than US$275 million over the next three years to construct new Grain Marketing Board (GMB) silos, as well as renovate and modernise old ones countrywide to cater for increased output from agriculture. There are proposals to build four 56 400-tonne silo complexes at the Mvurwi, Kwekwe, Timber Mills and Mhangura depots with support from Belarus. An upgrade and automation of existing silo plants in Banket and Lion’s Den is also being considered. Under a separate facility, an additional four silo complexes of the same capacity will be constructed at the Masvingo, Lupane, Raffingora and Bindura depots.

Zimbabwe achieved a record wheat harvest of over 375 000 tonnes in 2022.

Grain output for the 2022-2023 cropping season is projected to rise to three million tonnes. While the capacity of the Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) presently stands at 500 000 tonnes, the Government intends to raise it to 1,5 million tonnes.

Zimbabwe has 12 silo plant sites with a cumulative holding capacity of 751 000 tonnes.

GMB can also store bagged maize and other grains under canvas, as it has done in past seasons. Besides maize, there are high expectations of a huge harvest of traditional grains. Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary Dr John Basera told The Sunday Mail that an upward review of the SGR necessitates expansion of the country’s silos.

“As we march towards Vision 2030 agriculturally, with one bumper harvest after the other, silo storage expansion is a requirement. To achieve this level of storage capacity, GMB would need to partner financiers under government-to-government schemes to provide additional storage space of at least 750 000 tonnes,” he said.

“Through Government policy, which is conducive for direct foreign investment, good bilateral relations have brought more deals on board, which are now at an advanced stage of completion.”

Chief director responsible for agricultural engineering, mechanisation and soil conservation Engineer Edwin Zimunga said there are two partners that the Government is working with — Aftrade of Belarus and the Bühler/African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Project Concept.

“To date, Aftrade brought various technical teams to collaborate with local expertise to assess and carry out gap analysis on various GMB depots. The proposal covers construction of four 56 400-tonne silo complexes at the Mvurwi, Kwekwe, Timber Mills and Mhangura depots,” said Eng Zimunga.

The construction, he added, will include high-capacity grain driers; grading and grain conveyance systems; bagging-off equipment, laboratory, storage sheds and cleaners.

“In addition, an upgrade and automation of existing silo plants in Banket and Lions Den is included. The total budget costs are US$112 million under this phase. Implementation takes three years until commissioning,” he said.

To date, the Bühler/AfCFTA team has made four technical visits to GMB. In the proposal already submitted to the ministry, the construction of four 56 400-tonne silo complexes is proposed at the Masvingo, Lupane, Raffingora and Bindura depots, with similar facilities as in the Belarus deal.

“In addition, upgrades and automation of existing silo plants in Chegutu and Concession are quoted. The total project cost is US$162 million under this phase. Implementation takes two-and-a-half years until commissioning.

“Should these two projects be concluded; we will add 451 200 tonnes to the GMB silo capacity at a cost of about US$275 million over a three-year project cycle period. This is the current Phase One towards fulfilment of the targeted 750 000 tonnes,” he said.

Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe national chairperson Mr Tafadzwa Musarara commended the silo expansion project. “This project was long overdue. Inasmuch as we want to have enough food for our consumption and export, there is need for a massive expansion for reserves.” Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Dr Shadreck Makombe said: “Automation in agriculture speeds up processes. Manual work used to delay progress at these sil

GMB takes delivery of US

WHEAT farmers had by November 13 delivered 120 000 tonnes of wheat worth over US$25 million and $30 billion to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

GMB chief executive Mr Rockie Mutenha yesterday confirmed the deliveries saying 55 000 tonnes of the cereal were in the premium grade with the standard category accounting for the balance.

“Premium grade intake was 55 000 tonnes while standard grade accounted for 65 000 tonnes. For premium grade we are paying $268 048 plus US$220 per tonne, while the standard grade attracts $243 680 plus US$200 per tonne. To date about $5 billion and US$5,45 million has been paid to farmers,” said Mr Mutenha.

As the deliveries of wheat continue to increase, 46 percent of current deliveries are premium grade with 54 percent constituting the standard grade. In terms of payment, about 22 percent of the delivered wheat has been paid for with the remaining 78 percent still to be paid.

Mr Mutenha also revealed that GMB had requested a further $10 billion and US$8 million from Treasury, which is expected this week to pay outstanding wheat deliveries.

Meanwhile, Agricultural Advisory and Rural Development Services chief director Professor Obert Jiri disclosed that a total of 201 925 tonnes had been harvested as of November 10 from 49 159 hectares of land.

“A total of 210 925 tonnes of wheat have since been harvested as of November 10 across the country. At a preliminary average national yield estimate of 4, 78 tonnes per hectare, 374 870 tonnes can be realised,” said Prof Jiri.

Prof Jiri pointed out that combine harvesting operations were at full throttle to finish harvesting while the impact of the current rainfall activities was being assessed. Mashonaland West province has the highest wheat harvest of 60 883 tonnes, followed by Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central provinces at 39 276 and 37 270 tonnes respectively.

Mashonaland East has so far recorded the highest average yield of 5, 2 tonnes per hectare, followed by Manicaland and Mashonaland West provinces at 4, 7 and 4, 6 tonnes respectively.

Farmers under the Food Crop Contractors Association (FCCA) programme have so far contributed the largest share of 36 percent to the total harvested wheat, followed by CBZ and self-financed farmers at 29 and 15 percent respectively.

Meanwhile Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) chief executive officer Mr Clever Isaya said as wheat is a controlled product in terms of the Grain Marketing (Control of Sale of Wheat and Barley) Regulations, 2021 (Statutory Instrument 188 of 2021) there were restrictions applying on the marketing of the crop.

“Privately contracted farmers are expected to deliver their wheat to contractors, as stipulated in their agreements. Farmers under the Pfumvudza/Intwasa and the National Enhanced Agricultural Productivity Scheme (NEAPS) (mainly administered by CBZ Agro-Yield and the AFC Land and Development Ban) are expected to sell their wheat to GMB,” said Mr Isaya.

To curb side marketing mainly caused by delayed payment among others, AMA and relevant stakeholders are doing everything to tame the vice.

“We have put in place measures to curb side marketing by mandating farmers to seek clearance from AMA and Agritex if they do not have other obligations to Government or private contractors before wheat movement permits are issued.

“We are also using a farmer database, which was verified with the civil registry to plug loopholes being used by some farmers to engage in arbitrage practices,” added Mr Isaya.

FCCA chairperson Mr Graeme Murdoch disclosed that their members are over 60 percent through with wheat harvesting with the remaining 40 percent busy reaping to avert rain damage.

“Over 60 percent of our wheat has been harvested and farmers are fulfilling their offtake arrangements with contractors, though some sell to GMB especially in areas situated nearby. On a worrying note, our farmers who delivered to GMB have not yet received their payments. Only farmers from the Presidential scheme and verified self-financing farmers have been paid. But we are told there are ongoing funding negotiations between GMB and Treasury that we hope will see our members being paid soon,” said Mr Murdoch.

The impending achievement of wheat self-sufficiency will allow the country to save of foreign currency, arrest exportation of jobs and increase economic development.

As permanent secretary in the Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Ministry Dr John Basera once said the best export strategy for any country is import substitution and the wheat sector has achieved this feat.

Pfumvudza abusers will go to jail, no fine option

Pfumvudza abusers will go to jail, no fine option Those selling or buying the agricultural inputs earmarked for the climate-proofed Presidential Inputs Scheme, Pfumvudza/Intwasa, will be sent to court where jail sentences can be imposed on conviction with admission of guilt fines at a police station not being an option.

The charges will be standard criminal charges of fraud, theft, unlawful possession and misrepresentation, and there is going to be a lot of co-operation between the police, the Grain Marketing Board and Agritex who are already digging into reports that some farmers are selling inputs and others are buying and trading in these.

At a media briefing on the distribution of Pfumvudza inputs held in Harare yesterday, GMB chief executive Mr Rockie Mutenha said as part of efforts to reduce cases of inputs fraud, the GMB will be issuing permits for movement of inputs.

GMB would work with police at road blocks to ensure that inputs reached the intended farmers. Anyone found without the relevant documents would have the inputs impounded.

“We are going to have road blocks so we will be working closely with law enforcement agents and we will issue movement permits for inputs.

“These inputs are given to farmers to produce crops not to sell. If you don’t have a piece of land and no use for the inputs, please don’t receive the inputs.

“They are meant for crop production and not for retail business.

“These are clear cases of theft and fraud,” he said.

Farmers were not supposed to pay for the transport of inputs since the inputs were being given to the farmers for free by the President.

GMB is responsible for contracting transporters. When a transporter moves inputs to a ward, they raise an invoice for GMB to pay them.

“We have heard incidents where some transporters and some local leaders are requesting farmers to pay for the inputs. The correct position is that transporters raise an invoice which is submitted to GMB,” said Mr Mutenha.

Speaking at the same briefing national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said anyone found selling and buying Presidential inputs would be arrested.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi “Presidential inputs are not for sale. Anyone found selling or buying these inputs will be arrested and we all urge the public to report such cases to any nearest police station. So far, no fines are accepted by police, these are serious cases of fraud so definitely all cases are taken to court,” he said.

Ass Comm Nyathi said they had arrested nine people across the country for abusing presidential inputs.

They are Allan Benzini (39), Christine Pfunde (47), Faith Ncube (50) and Rita Mathe (48) Tavonga Chikuni (18) Maizivei Themba (33) and Maizivei Gariyakumwe (43), Shylet Dumani (42) and Geogina Mandizha (39).

He said recently police in Plumtree recovered 18×30 kgs of compound D fertilisers, suspected to be Presidential farming inputs near Highgate Farm.

The fertilisers were abandoned in a bush by two unknown suspects who fled from the scene after a passer-by stopped as they were hiding the fertiliser in the bush.

Presidential inputs are expected to reach up to 3 million rural households targeting farmers in communal lands, A1 resettlement, peri-urban and old resettlement

Wheat harvest hits 90 000t

An estimated 90 000 tonnes of wheat have been harvested and delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), representing about a quarter of this year’s projected winter wheat harvest, Government has confirmed.

Over 95 percent of the cereal has now reached maturity stage, with the authorities advising farmers to speed up harvesting before the onset of the rainy season.

Already, farmers have lost wheat valued at over US$900 000 to veld fires.

Agricultural and Rural Development Advisory Services chief director Professor Obert Jiri told The Sunday Mail that nearly 90 000 tonnes of the cereal had been delivered to the GMB by October 27.

“To date, our farmers have delivered 89 000 tonnes of wheat to the GMB, and we are happy that we have no transport challenges,” said Prof Jiri.

“We have witnessed a slow start to the selling season because the production was delayed due to the late maturity of the summer season crops.

“But everything is in order and our farmers are on the ground, making sure the grain is harvested before the rains.”

About 59 percent of the crop delivered to the GMB has been classified as standard grade wheat, while the rest was categorised as premium grade.

In an interview, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos urged farmers to take advantage of combine harvesters provided by the Government.

“We recently lost more than US$900 000 of wheat to veld fires,” he said.

“This will not adversely affect our projected harvest target. However, one cent lost is one cent too much, so we need to avert any more losses going forward.

“Farmers need to utilise the available combine harvesters that were distributed by the Government for wheat harvesting to avoid losses caused by rain.”

Wheat harvesting, he said, was presently in full swing countrywide. According to the Meteorological Services Department, this year’s rainy season is expected to start during the second week of November.

Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe chairperson Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said rainfall compromises the quality of wheat.

“The wheat will no longer be suitable for producing flour but can be used as stockfeed and this will affect our goal of wheat self-sufficiency,” he said.

He urged farmers to finish harvesting as early as possible.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union executive director Mr Paul Zakariya said: “We are in a celebratory mood for having achieved the Government’s targeted hectarage.

“What is left is for farmers to speed up harvesting and avoid losses.

“In all things to do with agriculture, farmers are advised to be on time and work with local experts, who will give advice on the spot.”

Zimbabwe has an annual wheat requirement of about 360 000 tonnes, while this year’s harvest is projected to be above 380 000 tonnes.

The Government deployed over 110 combine harvesters to 20 centres countrywide to facilitate timely harvests.