Zimbabwean Ddeputy Agriculture Minister Seiso Moyo says heads must roll at the state-owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB) where 50,000 tonnes of maize grain worth US$16 million have been damaged due to poor storage facilities.
Reacting to reports confirmed by GMB management that the grain, which was stored in silos and various depots around the country, has since been declared unfit for human consumption, Moyo told VOA Friday that the government is expected to institute thorough investigations on the issue.
He said GMB executives and their subordinates should be punished for failing to store maize grain as per required standards.
The damaged maize, classified as top grade and bought at a price of US$285 per tonne last year, will now be sold as stockfeed to cattle farmers at an average price of US$175 a tonne.
Some of the affected depots and silos are in Concession and Chiweshe in Mashonaland Central, Aspindale in Harare and Lions Den in Mashonaland West where the storage facilities are said to be far below standard.
This comes amid reports that 500,000 of the 1.6 million hectares under this year’s maize crop are a complete write off in most parts of Matabeleland, Midlands, Manicaland and Masvingo provinces.
Moyo said it is unbelievable that the GMB lost such huge amounts of grain due to poor storage facilities.
“This is disastrous and I believe that stern measures should be taken against all those who failed to follow the necessary processes in storing our maize grain.”