Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Small-scale milling companies have called on Government to allow them make weekly payments for their monthly grain allocations from the Grain Marketing Board to enable them stay in business.
Through the Small Scale Millers Association of Zimbabwe (SMMAZ), the millers said the position where they are required to pay for their monthly allocation within the first seven days of the month was incompatible with their operations.
SMMAZ, through its chairman, Mr Davis Muhambi, has written to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, Dr Anxious Masuka, making the request.
“As small and medium enterprise millers we kindly request to make weekly payments from our monthly grain allocation from GMB,” he said.
Mr Muhambi said the staggered payments would enable them remain afloat and meet other operational obligations.
The small scale millers are allocated approximately 40 000 tonnes of maize per month which they share among themselves and are paying $32 000 per tonne equivalent to what GMB is paying to farmers.
“We also propose that millers that successfully use up their allocation within the month of allocation be allowed to apply for maize,” said Mr Muhambi. “This will be verified through submission and verification of returns.”
SMMAZ called on Government to regulate the influx of cheap maize meal imports for the benefit of local millers and farmers.
The association also called on big milling companies to procure more maize directly from farmers and enhance their operations in light of the bumper harvest received this season.
The country is expecting to harvest over 2,7 million tonnes of grain this year.