Grain millers fret over maize-meal

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THE Grain Millers Association (Gmaz) has expressed concern over the channelling of maize-meal into the black market in a development that has seen the organisation moving to curb leakages in the supply-distribution chain.
The country has been facing maize-meal shortages after the government briefly removed subsidies on grain sold to millers, with President Emmerson Mnangagwa restoring them.
Gmaz, millers, retailers and residents association representatives met in Bulawayo to deliberate on the shortages as well as mapping the way forward.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Gmaz chair Tafadzwa Musarara said he is worried about the availability of their products on the black market where they are sold at exorbitant prices.
“We are worried about the quantum of our products on the black market… We know the products leak either at the millers or retailers.
“We are now having professional buyers who queue every day to buy mealie-meal and resell it on the black market. The best way to cure the black market is flooding the market. So with maize imports that we are starting to receive next week, the situation should start to stabilise in the next three to five weeks but supplies will start to be noticed as from next week,” Musarara said.
In December last year, the government allowed millers and other players to bring in maize into the country using free funds to complement quantities coming from Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and government’s efforts of ensuring food security at household levels.
Gmaz is in the process of importing 100 000 tonnes of maize from South Africa with 50 000 tonnes expected to arrive in the country next week.
Speaking at the same event, Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu said stakeholders agreed that millers should directly sell maize-meal to consumers to cure side marketing of products.
“Regarding side marketing, we have come up with a joint monitoring programme where the millers will distribute the mealie-meal through the normal chain where the product is not going to be sold from the miller but will be delivered to the retailer, wholesaler or any recognised trader,” Mutashu said.

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