The first batch of the 400 000 tonnes of maize imports purchased by the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) from Zambia and Malawi is expected in the country this week.
The grain will be coming from the Food Reserve Agency of Zambia and the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) of Malawi.
GMAZ chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara said 30 000 tonnes of maize will land in the country this week. Said Musarara:
Everything is on course to bring into the country the maize millers are importing from Zambia and Malawi.
We are bringing in 30 000 tonnes in July and the first consignment is expected in the first week of July.
Grain millers plan to import a total of 800 000 tonnes this year.
National Consumer Rights Association spokesperson Effie Ncube welcome the importation of grain, saying this will stabilise the price of mealie meal. Ncube said:
The importation of grain is a welcome move. Many households already require food assistance since not all of them were able to harvest sufficient yields due to drought. Also, prices go up whenever a product is in short supply versus the high demand.
Therefore, it is important that together with bringing in more grain to assure food security, other measures are taken to arrest the cost of doing business and unethical business practices.
In May, GMAZ announced it would import US$100 million worth of grain after Cabinet in February invited private millers with free funds to complement local stocks.
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) expects farmers to deliver 1.5 million tonnes during the ongoing marketing season against an annual national demand of 2.2 million tonnes.
Out of 2.2 million tonnes needed each year, 1.8 million tonnes are for human consumption and 350 000 tonnes are for livestock.