Source: Govt sets new rules for millers | The Herald July 20, 2017
Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Government has banned all maize imports with immediate effect, with millers intending to buy grain from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) expected to pay directly to Treasury. They will obtain vouchers which they will use to draw down the grain from GMB.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made yesterday said Government would no longer allocate foreign currency for grain imports. He said companies and individuals must not approach his ministry applying for grain imports. “We will not entertain any application in that regard. Now companies should be looking at local maize purchases.
“If permits were issued, they will not be executed unless if the companies had signed contracts. We are going to review permits that had not been executed. There are also maize by-products imported by stock feed manufacturers, if these are related to maize, no-one should approach the ministry for any new permits or renewal of permits with immediate effect,” he said.
Dr Made said GMB should work around the clock to take all the grains offered by farmers. “Everybody should focus on grain from the GMB, including millers who are not registered under the association. Those accessing grain from GMB at commercial level such as millers will do so through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and they cannot buy directly from the GMB depots.
“The millers will pay at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and they will be issued with a voucher, which they will use to draw down the maize from the GMB depots,” he said.
Minister Chinamasa will soon elaborate on the new development.
“I urge all farmers, be it under Command Agriculture, Presidential Scheme, self financed, A1, A2, communal or old resettlement to deliver grain to GMB and those who were contracted should meet their contractual obligations.
“Farmers should not side market if they were contracted. We want farmers to really comply and we do not want middlemen who interfere with other contracted parties and other programmes,” he said.
“We want to be able to meet obligations of industries. We must supply industry and meet obligations of those who would have funded farmers. If farmers were contracted under Command Agriculture, they should not run away with the crop, but should deliver according to their contracts.”
He said farmers who financed themselves were free to sell their grain to anyone, but assured them that GMB would pay them timely if they deliver their grain to the parastatal’s depots.
“We do not want middlemen, who will buy grain from farmers and later sell to the GMB and profiteer at the expense of farmers. Government and the ruling Zanu-PF will not accept that. I assure farmers that whatever commodity, we will pay timeously.
“This is consistent with the strategic direction Government is taking as it relates to crops, livestock, fisheries and wildlife,” he said.