Grain millers cry foul over maize imports, petition government

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THE Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has petitioned government over the issuance of import permits for maize and wheat bran saying they were killing the viability of the milling industry.

Bran is the by-product realized after the milling of wheat, maize and other grains and is used mainly for stock feeds.

GMAZ General Manager, Lynnette Veremu wrote to Lands, Rural Resettlement and Agriculture Minister Perrence Shiri impressing upon him that the importation of bran was killing the milling industry in the country.

“We notice with concern that the Ministry of Lands, Rural Resettlement and Agriculture has been issuing out import permits for maize and wheat bran. Consequently, there is now a glut of these imports across the country especially in areas such as Matabeleland North, South and Bulawayo,” said Veremu.

She said the bran imports were straining the country’s nostro account, noting that the Command Agriculture programme introduced by government was supposed to substitute the importation of maize and bran.

“We appeal to your office to immediately withdraw all import permits and possibly position officers at the borders. Grain Millers Association offers to pay allowances and travel of these officers,” she said.

GMAZ, last year, bought 800 000 tonnes of maize under Command Agriculture and a similar tonnage of wheat, which Veremu said would provide enough bran for the country.

Veremu said the continued importation of bran would flood the market at the expense of their members.

The millers body also offered to buy 10 000 of rain damaged wheat and 50 000 tonnes of soya bean, whose by-products were also threatened should the government continue to issue bran import permits.