Maize, soyabean sales remain controlled

by | Aug 11, 2021 | Business | 0 comments


Hosia Mviringi

The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) remains the sole buyer and seller of the staple maize crop and soya beans in the country.

Maize and Soya beans were specified under the Grain Marketing Act Chapter 18: 14.

Under the Act, no one is allowed to buy or sell maize or Soya beans other than through the GMB unless one is a bonafide contractor registered through the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA).

The GMB, working with the Law enforcement agencies have intercepted and forfeited grain amounting to 230 tonnes of maize and 32 tonnes of Soya beans between July 27 and August 3, 2021, countrywide.

“The GMB is working with law enforcement agencies to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act. Anyone found in violation of the Act and the Statutory Instrument (SI) shall be prosecuted and risk forfeiture, and shall pay fine three times the market value of the controlled product in his or her possession,” said the GMB Chief Executive Officer, Mr Rockie Mutenha in a Media Release.

One of the most prominent violators of the moratorium, who is set to appear in court facing charges of contravening the Grain Marketing Act, is the Norton legislator, Mr Temba Mliswa whose 40 tonnes of maize were seized in Karoi.

Maize and Soya beans were designated as strategic crops due to the nature of their importance to national food security needs and the level of government involvement in production.

Most of the staple crops, including oilseed, being harvested now are a direct result of massive national investments through such interventions as Command Agriculture and Pfumvudza.

As such, the government takes a keen interest in the management of the crop.

Zimbabwe has achieved food self sufficiency thanks to massive government intervention and investment in Agricultural productivity.

Where taxpayers’ money has been invested government is mandated to follow through and see how the proceeds are being used.

The GMB in this case is the some government agent in the administration of government funded food crops in order to guard against rampant side marketing tendencies which are rampant with such cash crops as cotton and tobacco.

Government intervention in the production of maize and soya beans was driven by the need to save millions of US dollars annually in grain imports. This helps government to focus on other critical areas of the economy where inputs are not readily available locally such as fuel and other raw materials.

The strategic grain reserve which is the fall back supply of staple grain in times of emergencies has got to be fully replenished, thus the keen interest by government in the marketing is staple grains.

Most producers of the staple grains, both large and small farmers, are beneficiaries of government funding through tillage services, farming inputs and such infrastructure as dams and irrigation mechanisation.

That is why where private contractors were involved in funding the production of the crop, the government takes exception.