Millers barred from buying maize directly from farmers

Millers have been barred from buying maize directly from farmers this season and will now procure it from the Grain Marketing Board, while Government has suspended the importation of maize with immediate effect.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made confirmed the development yesterday and said the decision had since been communicated to the millers.

This came as Government has tasked the Agricultural Marketing Authority to establish selling points for grain and cotton across the country to cushion farmers from travelling long distances to the market.

“Cabinet has approved the proposed new payment and marketing structure in terms of maize that millers will be purchasing this season,” said Dr Made.

“Millers have agreed that they will not buy maize directly from farmers, but from GMB. The price at which they will be buying will be determined as each miller comes forward to GMB to buy the grain. This is a fundamental decision and a strategic decision.”

Dr Made said the chairman of GMB board will engage other board members on the matter.

“Government has also agreed that we are no longer going to issue any new maize import permits,” he said.

“But wheat imports may continue as we are not yet self-sufficient. We will continue to import wheat and we will also be selling to farmers at an agreed position.

“The price of grain will be $390 per tonne for farmers, but for the millers we will have a different price. Farmers should speedily deliver their grain to GMB as millers are now waiting for the maize.” Dr Made said the GMB board should work around the clock.

“This structure signals that in future we will look at all commodities very closely to ensure farmers are supported first,” he said.

“We will also be talking to stockfeed manufactures and private importers. Only those with existing permits will continue with their orders and no further permits relating to maize will be issued out.”

Dr Made said Government had tasked the Agricultural Marketing Authority to establish selling points for grain and cotton across the country to cushion farmers from travelling long distances to the market.

He said the selling points should ensure that farmers do not travel more than five kilometres to sell their produce.

“We encourage all farmers to open bank accounts,” he said.

“Every farmer should have a bank account.

“The GMB and CMB should open selling points within five kilometres so that farmers do not spend time and money travelling to selling points.”

Zimbabwe is poised to restore food self-sufficiency and eradicate maize imports amid high expectations of a bumper harvest from increased strategic crops planted during the 2016-17 summer cropping season. – Herald

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