Zimbabwe Farmers' Union

High Moisture Content hinders smooth grain selling

23 Jun 2017

Maize Farmers are failing to sell to GMB due to the moisture content present in the maize.

High moisture content promotes fungal infestation which results in aflatoxin that is not desirable to human and livestock consumption.

It also causes de-colourisation of the grain thus compromising quality

 Accepted level of moisture content for grain should be 12.5 % maximum and farmers are therefore encouraged to test moisture content before taking the maize to GMB to avoid loses.

Reports received from different provinces say GMB has sent away some farmers due to high moisture content in the grain.

 Unfortunate stranded farmers are therefore falling victim to middle men who are buying their maize at $150 who then sell it back to the GMB for $390.

The farmer is faced with a tough choice because he/she has to cover transport costs and also it would be more expensive to take the grain back home without nothing to cover the expense so inevitably they sell it way cheaper.

Just to be safe, farmers are encouraged to carry samples to their nearest depot and have the moisture content analysed before carrying the whole lot, that way farmers incur less expenses.

“Most of the farmers are being turned away because of high moisture content this may be because they use plastic bags to carry their samples thus increasing the moisture,” said ZFU Mash West Provincial Manager, Mr Godwill Macherera

“The sample therefore, might not be a representation of the whole lot thus we encourage farmers to use perforated bags or khaki packs,” he said.

“Generally, this time around maize will still be having high moisture content. In that regard, we encourage farmers especially those farmers who grew late maturing varieties to be patient enough and wait for the grain to dry to acceptable level,” said ZFU commodities Officer, Simbarashe Muchena.

Concerning the issue of middle men buying from farmers, the questions that come to mind then are, who are these middle men? do they have drying facilities? are they selling to GMB after drying the maize or in the same condition in which they got from the farmers?

However, farmers who have acceptable grain in terms of moisture content have managed to sell to GMB.

 Reports from ZFU Masvingo Province state that some farmers have already received payment.

“Before delivering the maize farmers must register and be given a grower’s number. Registration is instant and payment is centrally done at GMB Head office within 3-5 days,” said ZFU Masvingo Province Manager Mr Jeremiah Chimwanda.

 “Those with no bank accounts are being paid via ecocash. Some farmers have already been paid in the province,” he said.