BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Controversial Malawian preacher Shepherd Bushiri is set to supply Zimbabwe with 250 000 tonnes of maize after clinching a deal with local millers, it was revealed yesterday.
Bushiri will supply the maize through his Shepherd Bushiri Investment (SBI), which signed a deal with the Grain Millers Association Zimbabwe (GMAZ).
A statement released by SBI said the maize would be imported from Malawi.
“All necessary logistical arrangements are in place and grain inflows will commence next week,” Bushiri’s representative Kajiya Kantumoya said in the statement.
GMAZ spokesperson Garikai Chaunza confirmed the deal, saying they were hoping to import 80 000 tonnes of maize from SBI.
“We have just signed the deal with SBI who are one of our three grain suppliers and we hope to bring into the country 80 000 metric tonnes of maize from them,” Chaunza said.
“We concluded this deal despite having failed to get letters of credit from banks.
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“Once again we would like to thank the government for allowing us to embark on the grain importation scheme, which we are implementing so that we complement the administration’s efforts of ensuring national food security.”
Zimbabwe has been facing serious mealie-meal shortages since late last year after a consecutive drought hit the country during the 2018/19 farming season.
The government has been struggling to import adequate stocks of maize because of a shortage of foreign currency.
Zimbabwe is importing maize from South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania and as far as Mexico.
The government accuses local millers of hoarding mealie meal or diverting it to the black market where it is sold in foreign currency.
There are claims that some of the mealie-meal is smuggled for sale outside the country, but the allegations were dismissed by millers as unfounded.