Grain millers have welcomed the government’s decision to suspend the importation of maize meal to protect millers from unfair pricing by “opportunists.”
The suspension of the import permits would allow fair competition on the market, NewsDay reported quoting Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairperson, Tafadzwa Musarara.
Speaking at a meeting for the Northern Region members yesterday, Musarara said:
We are happy that the importation of maize meal has been suspended after the lapse of the open general licence. Our Millers have been facing challenges through unfair competition by opportunists.
Some of these opportunists have been buying maize grain through side marketing thereby prejudicing us.
Government will not issue permits for the importation of maize meal this time. But millers will be given permits through the association to import maize grain. This will help us to have fair pricing competition on the market. As millers, we will soon embark on a blitz to ensure that we stop any importation of flour or maize meal.
In May 2021, the government banned maize imports and suspended import licences for maize grain, maize meal and other maize products to support domestic farmers and millers.
In February 2022, the government reversed the ban and allowed individuals and companies with free funds to import and ensure regular supply for the milling industry and stockfeed manufacturers.
This was after surveys by the government and its partners, including the World Food Programme, had established that about 5.4 million (36%) of Zimbabweans are facing hunger in the current season.
Government critics say billions of dollars that were used in recent years allegedly to boost the agriculture sector were abused by political elites.