AGRICULTURE minister Joseph Made is under fire from local millers who have launched a campaign dubbed “Millers Against Imported Mealie-meal” amid accusations that the government is fanning corruption in the sector
BY MOSES MATENGA
The millers told journalists during a Quill Club discussion in Harare on Tuesday that they were united in the fight against cheap imports which they said were undermining ZimAsset.
They accused Made of issuing imported maize meal permits without stakeholder consultations, saying this had a potential to cause food insecurity in the country.
The millers said the move by Made, among other things, compromised the ability of the millers to sell their maize meal.
“There are reasonable grounds to suspect that this policy is informed by a corrupt scheme involving some ministers, senior government officials and politicians,” Grain Millers’ Association executive member David Muhambi said.
He said the decision threatened the collapse of the booming livestock sector as this created stockfeed supply challenges.
“Local millers will be forced to close shop. This will see shortages and price increases of milk, pork, chicken, eggs, beef and others,” Muhambi said.
The millers proposed that the government should ban imports of maize meal and prioritise the importation of maize which will be beneficiated locally.
“In the event that the government feels importation of mealie-meal is necessary, it should first consult relevant stakeholders — farmers, grain traders and millers,” Muhambi said.
Millers were by yesterday finalising papers they intend to file with the courts to challenge Made’s decision to issue import permits for maize meal.
Made could not be reached for comment yesterday.