THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is failing to provide adequate maize supplies to millers for maize meal production, raising fears that the country might
face grain shortages before the next agricultural season.
Agriculture minister Joseph Made’s predictions of a bumper maize harvest remain a farce as the GMB silos are still empty with very little maize being delivered.
National Foods Ltd says it has been receiving small maize allocations from the GMB over the past several weeks.
“Bulawayo regularly receives small maize allocations from the Grain Marketing Board. Harare, Mutare and Masvingo depots have had very little maize allocated to them over the past several weeks,” said Linda Musesengwa, public relations consultant for National Foods Ltd.
National Foods also said the small maize allocation from the GMB had affected the marketing of the company’s maize products.
“Maize allocations permitting, the company also markets granular and mealie rice,” Musesengwa said.
Lately there has been a proliferation of small-sized millers that are being allocated maize at the GMB ahead of large millers.
A source privy to what is happening at the GMB revealed that small-scale millers that are closely connected to the ruling Zanu PF are considered ahead of larger millers in the allocation of maize.
This year there were reports in the media that maize dealers were buying maize imported by the GMB for the purposes of reselling it to the parastatal at a higher price or for resale to neighbouring countries.
Farmers have expressed displeasure at the money GMB is offering, resulting in them selling the bulk of their maize harvest to private buyers.
GMB buys a tonne of maize at $31 million with the farmer paying transport costs to the GMB depots while some private buyers are said to pay up to $37 million a tonne and provide transportation. GMB chief executive officer retired colonel, Samuel Muvuti refused to talk to this reporter saying he doesn’t talk to journalists from the Zimbabwe Independent.
“Handitauri nemareporters eku-Independent, takarimirana kudhara (I don’t talk to reporters from the Independent, we are enemies),” said Muvuti before hanging up.