By Bulawayo Correspondent
GRAIN Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara says the cereal processing group has successfully pleaded with government to ban maize imports and related products in a move tailored to ring-fence this year’s good harvest.
Addressing journalists in Bulawayo Thursday, Musarara said the move was also meant to ensure the local market was protected for the benefit of local millers.
“In order to safeguard everything, we then agreed with government that they are going to ban the importation of maize into the country.
“Importation of maize meal and any other maize processed products is going to be banned.
“This is meant to ring-fence our harvest and make sure that the market is protected for the local.”
Musarara said his association was also working with government to stop side marketing in what should see farmers supply the staple to government through the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
Under the arrangement, millers will buy from GMB while contracted farmers will be able to recover on their investment.
The GMAZ boss said his association has also engaged government to ensure police roadblocks were set up on all major roads from feeder borders.
“We are aware of imports that might come from Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique and Malawi,” he said.
“The whole region has received a bumper crop, so we are fully behind government in the setting up of roadblocks from the main feeder boarders and we will partly contribute financially to that programme as in funding the entire policing so that side marketing is killed.
“Side marketing for the past decade has been affecting the successful implementation of contract farming in this country.
“I am happy that government this time is coming very strongly so that our bumper harvest, our local agriculture is protected.
“Internationally, imports come to fill a deficit but in Zimbabwe, it has substituted the local products. We are really thrilled that the government is correcting this in a big way.”