Grain millers call for dialogue on maize sales

Millers have distanced themselves from the ongoing litigation against government which is seeking to scrap the banning of individuals and companies from buying maize from farmers.

By own correspondent

In June, government gazetted Statutory Instrument (SI) 145 of 2019 which restricts farmers from selling maize to private buyers.

According to SI, maize is a controlled product in terms of Section 29 of the Grain Marketing Act. No person or statutory body or company or entity shall sell or otherwise dispose any maize except to a contractor or to the GMB.
Last month, two farmers, through the Harare East legislator, Tendai Biti’s law firm TB Law, filed a court application challenging SI 145, saying the law was ill-timed.

The two in their court application cited Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement minister Perrance Shiri and the Grain Marketing Board as first and second respondents, respectively.

In a statement Wednesday, Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe national (GMAZ) chairman Tafadzwa Musarara said litigation was not going to solve anything.

“Inasmuch as we appreciate, recognise and respect the litigants’ constitutional rights to vindicate their position in the courts, we believe that the so called ‘limitations’ in the SI can be cured through engagement with the Agriculture minister,” Musarara said.

The GMAZ boss said the milling industry had a good working relationship with government and Shiri.
“Minister Shiri is a listening minister and we are forever indebted to him for the various and numerous dispensations he has granted us. With respect to the ongoing litigation, we remain adamant that only dialogue can bring about the necessary legal framework that will regulate grain trading in the country,” he added.

Musarara added that through government’s blessings the milling industry had in the past three years procured local and imported grain worth over US$500 million, hence the need for continuous engagement with the authorities.
“We continue to work with government in coming up with the necessary and effective interventions critical to mitigate on the grain shortages occasioned by the drought and ensure the country is adequately stocked and resourced,” he said.

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