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Millers suspend operations

by Staff reporter
31 Mar 2020 at 07:55hrs | Views
THE Small-to-Medium Scale Millers' Association of Zimbabwe (SMMAZ) says its members have suspended operations due to shortage of maize to produce roller meal.

Speaking by telephone yesterday, SMMAZ interim chairman, Mr Davis Muhambi, said increasing mealie-meal on the formal market was critical if queues are to disappear as they work against maintaining social distance. He said the long queues were as a result of shortage of roller meal in the formal sector thereby defeating the purpose of the lockdown.

"Our members have suspended operations because there is no grain to produce roller meal and we are appealing to Government to increase allocations so that we produce enough to meet demand. If subsidised roller meal continues to be in short supply, we will continue to have these queues which then expose people to the risk of contracting diseases such as Covid-19," he said.

Government introduced a subsidy on roller meal so that the mealie-meal remains affordable to the majority of people. Millers are paid the subsidy money based on the roller meal they produce per month. Last October the Government gave the greenlight to individuals and corporates with free funds to import grain to complement Treasury efforts of ensuring adequate food reserves. Asked why SMMAZ were not using free funds to import grain, Mr Muhambi said:

"The problem with mealie-meal supplied onto the market using free funds is that it is very expensive and as such very few people can afford it."

The mealie-meal which is not subsidised is selling for between $240 and $270 for a 10kg bag compared to $70 for subsidised roller meal. The country recorded very poor yields last cropping season due to drought hence the Government and millers are importing maize to cover the deficit.

Source - chroncile