Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Grain millers in crisis meet over grain control

Grain millers in crisis meet over grain control

August 13th, 2014




The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (Gmaz) has called for an urgent meeting of its members Wednesday, to deliberate over a new government regulation criminalising the purchase of maize grain below this year’s producer price of $390 per tonne.

This follows last week’s Statutory Instrument 122 of 2014, Agricultural Marketing Authority Regulations (Minimun Grain Producer Prices) which criminalised the purchase of grain below producer prices or designated places.

Companies and individuals who will be found guilty of the offence will be liable to a fine not exceeding level four or imprisonment for a period exceeding three months or both, with the grain so purchased forfeited to the state.

In an interview yesterday, Gmaz chief executive Tafadzwa Musarara said all members of the association, local and regional will be meeting in Harare to deliberate on the issue.

“Our members flew yesterday to attend the meeting. We need to come with our standpoint that we will submit to government.

“We have our lawyers to interpret for ours what government mean by the recent statutory statement they issued,” he said.

Industrialists said the newly adopted position by government to criminalise the purchase of grain below the gazetted prices, looks set to spawn far reaching confusion and impact on the grain millers industry and the economy at large.

While it is confounding to understand the criminalisation of the purchase of maize below producer prices, all pointers lead to the years of price controls.

“This is a cheap attempt by government to appease farmers that will hurt industry and the economy.

“This will lead to a rise in mealie meal and open room for mealie meal imports in the country,” said one miller who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Apart from creating commotion with regards to proof of payments, the move is also  set to scupper preparations for the 2014/15 maize contract farming season.

“The move comes at time when preparation for contract farming for maize should be starting.

“It is likely that there will be capital flight from maize to other cash crops such sugar beans, potatoes, tobacco, ground nuts because of price controls,” he added.

The producer price set by government is set to further push up the cost of doing business for grain millers and grain merchants.


“The move will certainly benefit greater Harare only. I don’t see how it will benefit farmers in Gokwe and other places far away from Harare where most millers are. This is because $390 is too high already, such that adding any transport costs will be too prohibitive for any buyer,” he added.


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