THE first consignment of 400 000 tonnes of white maize to be imported from Malawi following Cabinet’s decision allowing private players to import grain to plug the gap in the supply of the staple is expected before the end of this month. The move complements Government’s efforts to guarantee food security in the country.
After getting the Government’s approval, the Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ), a grouping of major millers in the country, entered into agreements with authorities in Malawi and Zambia to import 400 000 tonnes of white maize.
In Malawi, GMAZ entered into an agreement with the government run-Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) to purchase 100 000 tonnes of maize. The deal was brokered with the help of the Malawian Embassy in Zimbabwe.
Mr Tafadzwa Musarara, GMAZ chairperson, said the deal with ADMARC was above board and logistics for the first consignment of maize were at an advanced stage.
“The deal is cast in stone and there is no going back in our efforts to feed the nation,” he said.
“Logistical arrangements are being finalised and we are expecting the first trucks to arrive in the country on June 30. Mr Musarara also thanked the Malawian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Richard Phoya, for playing a leading role in procuring the maize.
“We would also like the express our gratitude to Ambassador Richard Phoya for the sterling role he played in ensuring that this is a success. We look forward to further engagements with the embassy for more such deals since we still need to import more maize to feed the nation,” he said.
However, there are concerns that some rogue middlemen are allegedly trying to frustrate the Malawi-Zimbabwe maize import deal, which has already been signed.
In February 2022, Cabinet gave private grain millers the nod to commence maize imports using free funds to complement local stocks.
GMAZ representatives then held high-level talks with Malawi’s Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe, ADMARC management and members of the board and signed a memorandum of understanding after the Malawian government had approved the sale of 100 000 tonnes of maize.
GMAZ said it had secured 400 000 tonnes of white maize from Malawi and Zambia.
Forty percent of this maize will be coming from grain utility companies namely the Food Reserve Agency of Zambia and Agricultural Development and the Marketing Corporation of Malawi.
The country needs 2,2 million tonnes of maize, of which 1,8 million is for human consumption, while 350 000 tonnes will be set aside for stock feeds.