ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe and the Belarusian Government have signed a deal to construct US$112 million silos at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots, according to The Herald.

Dr. John Basera, the Secretary for Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development revealed while speaking during the winter wheat Preplanting seminar in Glendale.

He noted that the new silo program targets areas where there is high cereal production, particularly Kwekwe, Mvurwi, and Timber Mills.

He also unveiled that the program has three elements that include drying to ensure a smooth transition from one season to the next, automation, and storage.

The silo expansion plans come after the recent move by the government of Zimbabwe to suspend grain imports following a self-sufficient season as the country strives to halt import costs. 

The Ministry of Agriculture estimated maize production at 2 298 281metric tonnes (MT), a 58% increase on the 1 453 031 MT produced in the 2021/2022 season but the state announced that the country will store the bumper harvest to cushion against food uncertainty in future. 

According to the executives, while the GMB can use its expertise to safely store grain in temporary storage, silos are seen as a far more convenient and better option.

In addition, once capital costs are covered, the storage costs are lower hence Zimbabwe can cope with severe climate conditions, including serious droughts and back-to-back droughts.

Dr. Basera also stated that besides seeing seasons where the maize harvest is well more than annual requirements, as will happen this year with the bumper harvest, Zimbabwean farmers are now producing surpluses of traditional grains and for the first time of wheat, increasing the demand for medium-term and longer-term storage.

The executives said that the upgrades were long overdue, however, they appreciate the effort done by these two Governments to ensure positive measures to scale up efforts in improving the agricultural sector.

They attributed the bumper harvest to the Government’s Presidential Climate Proofed Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme, Presidential Input Support Scheme, Command Agriculture, Presidential Horticulture Programme, and farmers’ initiatives that have yielded very positive results this year.

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