ZIMBABWE – Private grain millers under the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) plans to import up to 1.1 million tonnes of maize between now and March next year to boost Government efforts to ensure availability of maize-meal on the market.

Dr. Tafadzwa Musarara, GMAZ’s national chairperson revealed this while speaking to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture and Resettlement

He noted that this is among its members’ 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.

According to him, the association have committed to secure the balance of 500 000 tonnes soon, all the imports coming from South Africa.

He reiterated that the move to import maize was necessitated due to an artificial shortage at the beginning of January due to policy issues and lack of clarity, but since it has been rectified, the market is now flooded with mealie-meal and the prices are stabilizing.

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,”

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

He lauded that government for weaning off that function from the GMB to the private sector, adding that this is how it should be.

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 finalized.

The move comes after a recent update from the government, assuring that Zimbabwe has enough maize and traditional grains stock to satisfy the local needs until the upcoming harvests in April.

Dr Jenfan Muswere, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister provided the update after the Cabinet meeting held on February 6, the first of 2024.

“Cabinet wishes to assure the nation that there will be enough grain before the commencement of the next maize or traditional grains intake in April 2024.”

Dr Muswere said Zimbabwe produced 2.57 million tonnes of maize and traditional grains during the last 2022-2023 season. According to the minister, the stiocks are enough since the country requires 2.2 million tonnes of this maize or traditional grains, 1.8 million tonnes for food and 400 000 tonnes for stock feed.

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