AGRICULTURE, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made says the maize and small grains producer price for this year will remain unchanged at last year’s level of $390 per tonne.

Last year, the Government increased maize and small grain producer price from $335 a tonne.

Responding to questions in Parliament on Wednesday, Dr Made said:

“When we buy maize from the farmers, we will be buying small grains as well. The price will be the same as the previous season, which is $390 per tonne.”

He said it was important that every farmer selling his or her grain to GMB has a bank account.

“Once he (farmer) delivers his maize to GMB, his money is transferred into his account. We want also to open up satellite points that will enable farmers to access GMB than travel long distances to take their produce to GMB,” he said.

Dr Made said in preparation for the marketing season, the GMB was in the process of refurbishing its silos at depots across the country.

“On the concrete built silos, the GMB is in the process of ensuring that those silos do not have leakages and no moisture can affect the produce. There are machines that are there to ensure that the maize remains safe in those silos.

“So, the Government has taken action to ensure that those silos are well maintained,” he said.

The private sector, most of them millers who buy maize from GMB, Dr Made said, have indicated their interest in working with the marketing board in ensuring that the silos were adequately maintained.

Following the rains that the country has received this season, the Government was expecting a bumper harvest. Zimbabwe requires about 1,2 million tonnes of grain annually.

Over the years, the country has been experiencing successive droughts resulting in a serious food deficit that has seen the Government importing millions of tonnes of grain from countries such as South Africa, Zambia and Brazil.