Govt bans private sale of maize

By Albert Nxumalo

Government has struck again with yet another surprise statutory instrument effectively banning people who are not maize producers from selling maize to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and restricting the quantity of maize that can be transported.

Export of maize is now the sole preserve of GMB, reads part of the new regulations.

Statutory instrument 145 of 2019 under the Grain Marketing (Control of Sale of Maize) Regulations, 2019 spells out the control, sale, delivery, seizer of maize and powers of police.

Any person found to be violating the new regulations through unauthorised sale, storage, possessing, exporting maize may be jailed for “a period not exceeding two years”.

“No person who is not a producer of maize or who is not a contractor shall sell maize to the Grain Marketing Board” the statutory instrument under the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement declares.

It adds that the Grain Marketing Board is “empowered to reject any maize delivered by a person other than a producer or a contractor”.

Government has also put a cap on quantities that can be transported countrywide.

“A producer of maize or farmer is permitted to transport not more than five bags of maize of a capacity not exceeding 50 kilogrammes per bag from one area of the country to the other without any authorised person or police offer having to confiscate the maize”.

The only exception is when “such maize is being transported to be sold to the Grain Marketing Board” reads part of the new regulations.

The regulations states that “an authorised agency or person executing its statutory duties may in the case where there is reasonable suspicion that maize is being sold in contravention of these regulations, do either or both of the following: Seize the maize in question (b) seize any vehicle, container or  other property used in connection with the storage or transportation  of maize in question as an exhibit in the contemplated  prosecution of the offence, in accordance with the  provisions of these regulations”.

Upon seizure of the maize, it should be delivered “to a place of security under the control of a police officer or authorised person provided that fungible property such as grain may be stored by combining it with other fungible property of the same kind”

However, the maize would be “held in custody at the former possessor’s risk.

Police are now empowered to obtain a search warrant to enter or search any premises “he or she believes on reasonable grounds that evidence relating to a contravention of these regulations is to be found in that dwelling house”.

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