Millers spend $1,4m on maize imports
PRIVATE millers have imported more than 400 000 tonnes of maize spending about $1,4 million since the beginning of the year.
Responding to written questions from Business Chronicle, the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairman Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said they would continue complementing Government’s efforts by ensuring that their members continue to import maize until the next harvest period.
“We’ve imported more than 400 000 metric tonnes of maize at $340 a tonne since January 2016 to date from various countries such as Mexico, Ukraine, Brazil and Zambia.
“We’re, however, working closely with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in the repatriation of payments to respective suppliers.
“There’ll be enough maize stocks to provide all consumers until the next harvest period,” he said.
Presenting the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement recently, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa indicated that the country has grain reserves to last seven months as farmers continue to deliver maize to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots across the country. He said the country had 273 000 tonnes of maize in stock. “This is inclusive of imports, which at an ex-GMB off-take rate of 35 000 tonnes per month represents seven months of GMB sales.
In the last season the country experienced a severe drought, which affected crop production.
In May 2015, the Government announced that the country needs to import 700 000 tonnes until the 2016 harvest season.
However, due to the El Nino induced drought, the country will have to continue importing maize to avert a food crisis.
To ensure food security in light of the unpredictable rainfall seasons, the Government was concentrating on mechanisation and irrigation development.
The Government has also launched the Targeted Command Agriculture scheme as part of a raft of measures to improve food security and reduce grain imports.
Under the scheme, 2 000 farmers whose farms are near water bodies and each have the capacity to put a minimum of 200 hectares under maize, are set to get loans in the form of irrigation equipment, inputs, chemicals and mechanised equipment. — @okazunga
Mr Tafadzwa Musarara