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Boost for Command Agric as Govt, millers strike deal

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Takunda Maodza recently in Switzerland
GOVERNMENT has already secured funds to purchase grain while millers have availed $8 million for the repair of damaged Grain Marketing Board silos.

This was revealed by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday last week at a dinner in Geneva held in his honour by Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the United Nations and World Trade Organisation, Mr Taonga Mushayavanhu.

The Vice President briefed Ambassador Mushayavanhu and embassy staff on the economic-socio and political situation at home.

“After harvesting the two million tonnes of maize (predicted this season). The question is how we purchase it. We engaged stakeholders. They said 800 000 tonnes of maize from the two million, millers will pay. How do they pay? They have been importing over 800 000 tonnes of maize. We have agreed they no longer buy from outside. They are now going to buy our maize but at what price? They have been importing at perhaps $320 to $340 per tonne.

Chinamasa was paying the domestic farmer $390 per tonne. Now we have 800 000 tonnes produced domestically being purchased by millers at $240.

Chinamasa will now only pay the difference between $340 and $390. We have assisted him, you see,” said VP Mnangagwa.

He said funds have already been raised for grain purchase.

“We have already raised funds from private companies to purchase the balance of 800 000 tonnes. They do not get it the first day. Out of 11 companies, five have come into the programme. One of the companies want 120 000 tonnes of maize per year but does not want it in one day. It wants 5 000 per month. So we say ok, your 120 000 will cost you say $40 million, pay 20 percent of the $40 million in advance. They have all agreed. Twenty percent of the total volume. They pay 20 percent in advance then they draw down. Saka tatova nemari ye chibage chikaibva unongosiya chibage chako tokubhadhara. So this is what we are doing,” explained VP Mnangagwa.

He said Government engaged millers again on grain storage.

“We called the millers and GMB. GMB has capacity of storing 700 000 tonnes in its silos. We have two million tonnes. The balance of 1.3 million tonnes needs storing. If we use sheds we are able to cover that. Silos need repairs. We asked how much GMB needed for the repairs, they said about $8 million.

We went to millers on Monday last week.

“They gave us $8 million. They said we will give you the eight million, repair all the silos. Maize we store in those silos is ours, millers, because we are the ones who repaired them. They want 800 000 tonnes but the silos we repaired can only take 700 000 tonnes. They (millers) remove the grain, we fill them up. They remove, we fill them up. Again we did not bother treasury for funding. This is how we are doing it. But anything will have people who criticise.

They even criticise a good thing. A bad thing, they criticise. These are the facts on the ground. Our people have responded beyond belief on agriculture production,” said VP Mnangagwa.

He said the command system was expandable to other sectors of the economy.

“With this in mind, they are main areas in our economy we can lend this model. We now know that our own private sector have capacity in many ways to support the growth of the economy,” said VP Mnangagwa.

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