GRAIN millers in the southern part of the country say they are not threatened by the looming drought, as the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has enough stocks of grain to take them to next year.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) southern region chairman, Thembinkosi Ndlovu told NewsDay in an interview that the industry was not threatened by the unavailability of rain, as GMB has enough stocks of grain.
“Maize is plenty at GMB and price is still the same. The threat of whether the rain will come or not is neither here nor there,” Ndlovu said.
“We are no longer getting maize from Zambia. Now you can go to GMB and buy your maize without any hustles,” he said.
GMB is buying grain at $390 and selling at $250 per tonne.
Last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa assured the nation of food security despite the prevailing dry spell.
He said last year the country produced in excess of two million tonnes of maize following the “successful” implementation of Command Agriculture.
He said the country has adequate stocks of grain in its strategic grain reserve, which could sustain the nation up to 2019.
The Meteorological Services Department has since advised farmers in the southern parts of the country to start irrigating their crops due to shortage of rain.
It said while most areas show mostly normal rainfall to date, the season has performed badly in terms of rainfall distribution.
Ndlovu said millers were not facing cash challenges, compared to 2016 as they could now buy maize from GMB using electronic means.
The millers used to buy maize from rural areas where there are no swipe machines, something that was not sustainable, as they were incurring heavy costs when transporting maize.
Ndlovu, however, said they were facing challenges of packaging material, as it was very expensive.
For instance, 500 bags of 5kg cost about $92.