Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Shadowy Zimbabwean firm buys $42.5m maize from Zambia

Shadowy Zimbabwean firm buys $42.5m maize from Zambia

By Staff Reporter 5 hours 56 minutes ago

THE Zambian Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has signed a US$42.5 million contract 
with a shadowy Zimbabwean company linked to State Security agency CIO, 
Sakunda Trading of Zimbabwe for the sale of 300, 000 metric tonnes of maize 
in a deal believed to be a secret pact between President Mugabe and his 
Zambian counter-part Michael Sata.

Last week Sata visited Zimbabwe on an official engagement and sources said 
he pledged his backing for Robert Mugabe re-election by providing him with 
maize for campaign in the countryside.

FRA public relations officer Mwamba Siame said in a statement issued in 
Lusaka yesterday that the sale of the 300,000 metric tonnes of maize to 
Zimbabwe will reduce the surplus stock kept by the agency to 330, 435 metric 

In Zimbabwe, maize procurement is supposed to be carried out through the 
State company, the Grain Marketing Board, GMB and paid by the Ministry of 
Finance and sources said the deal has been financed by a diamond company 
Mbada Private Limited which is run by a cabal of military and Zanu-PF 

On its website Sakunda says it is an Energy company, and claims it’s largest 
supplier of  liquid fuels and other petrochemicals, and business of 
providing energy solutions that which it says keep the wheels of industry 
and the economy turning.

“The maize will mainly be from Eastern, Northern and Southern provinces. The 
operation starts soon. FRA hopes to reduce surplus stocks to 46, 495 metric 
tonnes by June 2012,” Mrs Siame said.

She said FRA has sold over one million tonnes of maize on the local and 
international markets since November last year.

Mrs Siame said the agency intends to capture a major share of the maize 
market demand by the end of the year to create space for the new stocks. The 
FRA will pay outstanding debts and prevent maize price distortions.

She also said the process of destroying maize grain that was certified unfit 
for animal and human consumption, after being exposed to rain due to 
inadequate storage facilities, has commenced.

Mrs Siame said FRA currently estimates a loss of 190, 388 metric tonnes from 
the 2011/2012 maize stocks.

And the agency’s senior management team will soon visit various depots to 
monitor the process of destruction, which will create room for the next crop 
to be purchased by FRA.

Mrs Siame said the monitoring is also a way of resolving all outstanding 
issues in the countryside in preparation for the marketing season set to 
commence on June 1.

She said the agency plans to do things differently this year and avoid costs 
associated with the crop-marketing programmes of 2007/2011.

Incorporated in 2005, Sakunda says it has grown exponentially to achieve its 
vanguard position in the energy supply industry through a tenacious 
adherence to the highest standards of service.

It goes on to say, initially a small operation helmed by the executive 
management team of Kudakwashe Tagwirei and Sandra Mpunga, Sakunda 
concentrated on the provision of diesel and petrol fuels to Zimbabwe during 
what could conservatively be called the darkest hour in the country’s 
economic history.

The ability to thrive where similar organisations where struggling to 
survive has since translated into the excellent service proposition that 
makes Sakunda the number one supplier of liquid fuels in the country. 
However, sources said the company is linked to high-level Zanu-PF leaders.

In 2008 President Mugabe accused the late Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa 
of siding with the then opposition party led by Prime Minister Morgan 
Tsvangirai, the MDC after Zambia had banned exports of white maize to 

Zambia had exported 85,000 tonnes of white maize to Zimbabwe after recording 
a surplus in the 2005/06 season, Mwanawasa said the FRA was looking for 
another southern African country that would buy the maize.

Zanu-PF officials publicyly expressed disappointment with Mr Mwanawasa who 
became the subject of attack by President Robert Mugabe.

The irony of this is that Zambia gave sanctuary and helped re-settle large 
numbers of the white farmers that Mugabe and his thugs drove out of 
Zimbabwe. Now, Zambia has a crop surplus and Zimbabwe is still starving.

With a surplus of over 800,000 tonnes of maize from last farming season, 
Zambia is considering selling to Zimbabwe through a guaranteed payment by 
the World Bank, the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) said.

ZNFU commodities chairman Graham Rae said Zambia has over 800,000 tonnes of 
maize which has to be sold before the new crop comes on the market.
In an interview in Choma recently, Mr Rae said Zimbabwe has contacted the 
Zambian government through the embassy in Harare and through other medium on 
the maize deficit facing that country.

Zimbabwe has a deficit of one million tonnes of maize.

“I honestly feel that we should do a government-to-government deal and move 
the maize into Zimbabwe underwritten by the World Bank, put it under 
collateral management and guarantee the payments from Zimbabwe which should 
create a win-win situation for both countries,” he said.

Mr Rae said Zambia has the cheapest maize in the region and it should help 
its neighbours.

Zambian maize is being sold to millers at US$140 per tonne and exported at 
US$170 per tonne.

He said South Africa is trading its maize between US$270 and US$300 per 
tonne while Chicago is close to US$200 per tonne, making Zambia the cheapest 

Mr Rae said if the country does not sell the maize quickly, this will create 
a huge storage problem when the new crop comes on the market.
He said buyers will also opt to buy the new crop first because it is fresh, 
which will leave Government with the huge problem of storage.

“It’s better to get rid of the maize that we have got. And if we do face any 
problems, we can import from South Africa, which would be far cheap in the 
long run than having a huge stock not secured properly,” he said.


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