Millers to import 1,1m tonnes maize Led by GMAZ Chairman Dr Tafadzwa Musarara, the private sector delegation will engage Brazilian maize suppliers, exploring opportunities for imports and discussing potential trade agreements.

Farirai Machivenyika-Senior Reporter

Private businesses under the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe will import up to 1,1 million tonnes of maize between now and March next year to augment Government efforts to ensure availability of maize-meal on the market.

GMAZ national chairperson Dr Tafadzwa Musarara yesterday told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture and Resettlement that their members had put in place measures to ensure availability of maize-meal on the market.

“We are aiming to import 1,1 million tonnes of maize between now and next year and to date we have secured 600 000 tonnes,” he said. 

“This is the maize that we have signed up and this is the maize that we have committed to take and in the next few months, we will be able to secure the balance of 500 000 tonnes. The maize is coming from South Africa. 

“We had an artificial shortage at the beginning of January and that was due to policy issues and lack of clarity, but that has been rectified and the market is now awash with mealie-meal and the prices are stabilising.” 

Dr Musarara said as the private sector, the millers had the capacity to supply the requirements of the market.

“We have given that guarantee to the committee that the market will be fully stocked with maize-meal until March next year,” he said.

“We also have plans to bring maize from South America through Beira and other supplies as an alternative arrangement of grain supplies.

“We are happy that Government has weaned off that function from the GMB to the private sector and this is how it should be. It should be a private sector function. So, we see a progressive liberalisation of the market and we are very happy about that.” 

GMB is now required to keep the strategic grain reserve and distribution of grain to vulnerable households.

Dr Musarara said the millers were making plans to procure locally produced maize so that farmers were paid timeously and would make the announcement soon, once ongoing consultations were finalised.

An earlier presentation by the GMB to the committee that the country had four months supply of maize was inaccurate, as it did not include what the millers had in stock.

Government had already started grain distribution to vulnerable households across the country due to the adverse effects of El-Nino, which brought less rains with a potential to affect this season yields.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos, this week said Government through the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare was assisting the vulnerable and was accessing 21 000 tonnes of maize monthly for distribution.

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