|Govt allows millers to buy maize|
|Friday, 24 February 2012 00:00|
Government has allowed milling companies to buy maize from the Grain Marketing Board to raise money to pay farmers. The farmers who delivered their grain last season have not received their payments as Government is struggling to mobilise cash.
Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made, revealed this at the Agricultural Marketing Authority stakeholder consultative workshop yesterday.
Minister Made said Cabinet ordered him, together with Finance Minister Tendai Biti, to consider proposals from food processing companies to buy grain from GMB.
“We have reached an agreement as Government to go ahead and consider companies to advance money under Agrobills to buy grain from GMB,” he said. Minister Made said GMB had not yet started selling the grain to the milling companies, as this would be done after clearance from the two ministries. “We want to contribute to the payment of farmers who have delivered their wheat and maize.
Minister Made said most of the companies that have been cleared to buy the grain have been importing maize and wheat from nearby countries.
Grain prices have increased on the world market with the landed price of imported grain ranging between US$300 to US$350 per tonne. The local milling companies will be buying the grain from GMB at US$275 per tonne and Government fills in the gap.
“We should support those companies and hope we are setting the model where food processors buy grain as it is available.
“We hope that from the sales of the GMB grain, Government will also be able to pay fertiliser companies and seed houses,” he said.
Minister Made said it was disturbing to note that some farmers who have not been paid for the grain they delivered to the GMB last season have already started making deliveries of their irrigated maize.