Government will open satellite depots near farming areas for buying grain and cotton to save farmers from travelling long distances to deliver their produce, a Cabinet minister has said.The Government, which buys grain through the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), will purchase grain at $390 per tonne this year.
It has already made a provisional budget of $62 million for grain purchases, while the Agricultural Marketing Authority is also expected to raise another $80 million.
Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made told the National Assembly that the bad state of the roads countrywide had also necessitated establishment of the satellite depots.
“The purpose of the satellite depots is to assist farmers so that they do not transport the produce themselves for long distances because a satellite depot assumes that the grain has already been bought and is in the hands of the GMB. The GMB will then transport the grain to its main depot when it is ready,” he said during the Wednesday question and answer session.
Zimbabwe expects a bumper harvest this season following good rains which coincided with the roll-out of a $500 million dollar three-year command agriculture scheme introduced to address perennial food shortages.
The total area put under maize countrywide in the 2016 /17 farming season was 1,2 million hectares compared to 773 000 hectares the previous season.
The country has in past seasons failed to produce sufficient maize, its staple crop, to meet national requirements due to a cocktail of factors including droughts and poor planning.