THE Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe last week commended the government's decision to stop all GMB depots across the country importing maize or buying grain from private traders.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe chairperson, Tafadzwa Musarara, said this is a positive development as it would empower farmers and encourage them to go back and plant the crop in the upcoming season.
"Look, you can't build the country's grain reserves by imported maize when we have farmers who are equally working hard to produce the crop," Musarara said.
He said the ban on grain traders would help farmers to get value for their crop as some traders were in the habit of dangling cash to desperate farmers.
"Some unscrupulous traders were in the habit of buying maize with groceries that cost less that $200 from farmers who would be in need of basics such as sugar, soap and cooking oil and later on make a profit of $190," Musarara said.
The move to ban them "will give farmers a good chance to reap what they sow regardless of the fact that GMB pays after 60 days of delivery".
The producer price for maize and all small grains, including sorghum, millet and rapoko for the 2014/2015 marketing season is pegged at $390 per tonne effective April 1, 2014.
In a recent statement, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ringson Chitsiko, said the government said the GMB would, with immediate effect, not accept maize deliveries from grain traders.
"This is in line with ZIM-ASSET Policy which seeks to empower local farmers, in this regard farmers are encouraged to deliver their maize and small grain directly to GMB depot," Chitsiko said.
"GMB will not accept imported maize at its depot and depot managers have been instructed accordingly and its staff are not allowed to buy grain from farmers and sell to GMB.
"If they do so they will be violating their conditions of employment which do not allow them to be traders."
Chitsiko said that, to date, a total of 40,060 metric tonnes of maize had been delivered to GMB depots throughout the country.
This was 231 percent more than the quantity delivered at the same time last year.