Home » Industry » Millers Mobilise $200m to Buy Grain

THE Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe has mobilised $200 million from local and foreign banks to purchase about 600 000 tonnes of grain this year. The millers will purchase grain at prices above $310 per metric tonne but members and farmers were free to negotiate payment plans.

Addressing the Grain Indaba on Friday, GMAZ national chairman Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said: “Financiers will come in full force to fund the purchase of maize this year and ensure that our communities are given cash for their produce to allow them to buy inputs for next season.”

The association is negotiating with the Grain Marketing Board to use the board’s infrastructure to reach as many farmers as possible during the buying period. Mr Musarara said for financiers to release cash, Government should commit to free market policies.

“We are happy with the outcome of the Indaba and we are grateful that the Government has stated clearly that it will not interfere with the pricing of maize and market forces,” said Mr Musarara.

The millers lobbied Government for the suspension of maize meal imports during the buying season.

“Imports should be used to cover shortfalls not to overshadow local production,” he said.

Mr Musarara also said the association had engaged mobile networks to access the mobile money transfer platforms for payments.

“We will use mobile money transfer services to make transactions through Telecel’s Telecash, Econet Wireless’s Ecocash and Netone’s One Wallet to allow farmers get cash when they deliver their product,” he said.

The buyers will negotiate with farmers on quantities while payment will be made directly to the farmers by the financiers. The millers will establish 200 collection points for the grain countrywide. They are also in talks with seed producers to use the collection points as selling points to bring inputs closer to farmers ahead of the 2014-15 agricultural season.

The grain indaba was attended by representatives of farmer organisations, bakers association, and development partners such as the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Bank and the United States of America International Development.

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Mr Ringson Chitsiko said Government encouraged the trading of crops and contract farming between farmers and private buyers.

“However, the Government remains committed to ensuring the Strategic Grain Reserve is in place and welcomes any well-meaning support from the private sector in this regard,” said Mr Chitsiko.

Mr Musarara said millers will not negotiate prices outside the fixed price so that they will maintain the price of mealie-meal that is prevailing.

“We have no intention of increasing the price of mealie-meal hence millers should adhere to the set price,” said Mr Musarara

Source : The Herald