Dickson Mangena, Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Grain Millers’ Association (GMAZ) has committed to purchasing more than 800 000 tonnes of maize directly from farmers this season as part of supporting Government efforts to absorb farm yields following a successful farming season.
The Government has since stopped the importation of maize in preparation for the start of the local selling season.
Most farmers across the country have started preparations to harvest their crops.
In an interview, GMAZ chairperson Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said the association is committed to buying almost half of the anticipated yields from farmers.
The country is expected to produce an excess of two million tonnes of maize this year.
“The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe has committed to off take 800 000 tonnes of maize from the Command Agriculture Programme. This will, we believe, give the bankability and sustainability to this noble programme,” said Mr Musarara.
He said the millers will be buying the maize at the same price which Government gazetted and which will be used by the Grain Marketing Board.
“The milling industry welcomes the price of $390 per tonne as it gives viability to farmers and encourage farmers to continue to produce maize at high scale,” said Mr Musarara.
He also said the anticipated yields are expected to boost the milling industry and ensure steady or even reduction of mealie meal prices.
“The price of maize meal will remain the same if not come down. We assure consumers that the maize meal supplies will continue to exceed nation’s requirements or demand. In light of the tremendous and positive impact of Command Agriculture, we envisage a steady growth in the milling industry,” said Mr Musarara.
The manufacturing and agro-processing industries are set for a major boost due to the anticipated success of the Government-led Command Agriculture Programme.
The successful agriculture season is also expected ease the country’s export basket as most raw materials will be available locally.
The Government is also expected to expand the command agriculture initiative to other crops such as wheat and soyabeans, further creating massive opportunities for local companies.