THE Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has said side marketing of maize is threatening national food security and operations of maize contractors.

In a statement, GMAZ chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara said third parties importing maize were now disrupting the contract farming arrangement financed by government.

“The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe would like to denounce the on-going side marketing of maize by unscrupulous buyers. The unfortunate act of greed is now dislocating the contract farming financed by the government of Zimbabwe, the CBZ Agro Yield and the Food Crop Contractors Association. The maize we have in the country, including the stock carry over, has to be complemented by imports in order to take us to the next harvest due to depressed yields as a result of poor rainfall,” the statement read.

GMAZ reports that for the past two months the grain market has been characterised by “unbridled arbitrage, side marketing and, indeed, organised chaos”.

“Cheap maize-meal imports have caused a glut on the market landing at a price of US$320 per tonne, cheaper than GMB maize price to millers of US$330 per tonne. We are now worried that third parties are buying that maize for speculative reasons at low prices with the intention to sell it later at very high prices. This act of profiteering has the potential to kill the current funding facility and stop it from revolving into the next season,” said Musarara, calling on GMAZ members not to be drawn into arbitrage.

Earlier this year, GMAZ announced that it would import 400 000 tonnes of maize from Malawi and Zambia worth US$100 million to offset an anticipated deficit later this year.

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The country needs 2,2 million tonnes of maize for human consumption (1,8 million) and stockfeed (350 000 tonnes).

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