By Idah Mhetu
STATE owned Silo Food Industries has announced it will now be buying grain from farmers as recent regulations published by government banning private sales of maize kick in.
In a statement at the weekend, Silo Food Industries however also indicated it will be paying more for maize than the prices announced by government last month.
“Silo Food Industries is now buying maize and small grains from farmers at $2 100 per tonne. Silo will be buying this grain from Grain Marketing Board depots throughout the country.
“Silo Foods will immediately open collection points where farmers can deliver to avert transport costs,” the statement said.
Silo is a subsidiary of the GMB.
Government last month announced new producer prices of maize at $1 400 per tonne.
At the time, this was an increase of almost 100% having been priced at $726 which was an equivalent of US$242, according to interbank rates on the day.
However, the local dollar has continued to lose value against the US dollar and the latest price calculated at the interbank rate of around $8.50 suggest the price has just moved in line with inflation.
“In this case, therefore, the maize producer price is thus reviewed upwards from the current RTGS$726 to RTGS$1 400 per metric tonne based on the interbank market rate of US$1: RTGS$5,5,” Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said at the time.
Government however warned against any price increases for the staple cereal adding millers would continue to get the maize at subsidised prices from the GMB.
At the end of June, government announced a ban on private sales of maize. The move is currently being challenged in the courts.
The regulations, published under Statutory Instrument 145 of 2019, also ban the transportation of more than five bags of maize except when making deliveries to the GMB.
According to the SI, the export of maize is now the preserve of the GMB and the police will be empowered to seize maize where breaches occur, with individuals falling foul of the new legal requirements facing up to two years in prison.
The SI gives the GMB the power to reject any maize delivered by a person other than a producer or a contractor.