Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Small to medium scale millers have appealed to Government to reconsider provisions of Statutory Instrument 145 of 2019 which makes the Grain Marketing Board the sole buyer and seller of maize in the country.
Through their association, the Small and Medium Millers Association of Zimbabwe (SMMZ), the grouping said the SI was threatening their viability and causing job losses as they could not afford the approximately $32 000 per tonne that the GMB was selling maize to millers.
In their letter to Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube, SMMZ chairman, Mr Davis Muhambi said most of their members were facing collapse due to the high cost of procuring maize from GMB.
The organisation proposed that Government “subsidise the price of maize (sold to millers) to allow the miller to be in a position to purchase at a reasonable price if Government still wants to continue with S.I 145,” or repeal the SI and open up the maize market to allow private players procure maize from farmers.
SMMZ added that allowing private players to procure maize directly from farmers using their resources would reduce the burden on Treasury which has so far paid nearly $20 billion so far for grain delivered to GMB.
“Fair pricing will be achieved, transferring burden of purchasing maize from Government to the Private Sector and reducing pressure on the fiscus. This will certainly reduce the money supply which is fuelling the parallel market rate and triggering inflation,” Mr Muhambi said
The parastatal has taken delivery of nearly a million tonnes of maize from farmers.
The country produced a bumper harvest of maize and other grains in the 2020-2021 summer-cropping season with projections pointing to another good cropping season this year.
“Repealing of S.I.145 is our preferred option because food security is not compromised by its removal and requires minimal monitoring as market forces come into play. As long as our borders remain shut to export of maize, the harvested grain will ultimately be consumed by the Zimbabwean populace thereby sustaining the objective of food security,” he added.