Millers collaborate to tackle drought with maize import

The Small Maize Millers Association of Zimbabwe (SMMAZ) has announced that small and medium-sized millers are working together to purchase, process, supply, and distribute maize to communities to tackle the ongoing drought crisis.

Some of these small to medium-sized businesses import maize from South America, ensuring that the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) maize they purchase is processed before distribution, as Zimbabwean laws prohibit the planting of GMO seeds.

Responding to journalists’ questions after a caucus meeting at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) offices in Bulawayo on Thursday, SMMAZ Chairperson Davis Muhambi said small to medium-sized millers were crucial in drought relief because they imported maize to supplement government efforts.

“We are importing maize mainly from South Africa. I am not too aware of where other suppliers currently buy from, but we hear that people are looking as far as South America for stocks,” he said.

According to Muhambi, SMMAZ comprises 71 small to medium millers across Zimbabwe, with the milling sector experiencing expansion in recent months due to the drought.

“We are seeing growth in the milling sector. Naturally, with the year being declared a drought, it will draw in more actors in the milling space,” he said.

To ensure that the maize supplied is safe, Muhambi stated that small and medium-sized millers process GMO maize before distributing it.

“We are playing the role of processing that maize because GMO maize comes into the country and gets processed. It cannot be distributed as raw maize because there are laws that prohibit planting GMO seed in the country,” he explained.

“That is the role we are currently playing. We import the maize, mill it, and distribute it to those in need as small millers.”

To combat drought, the government has said the private sector can continue to import maize for consumption and, if desired, import genetically modified maize.

However, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development, Dr. Anxious Masuka, said the importation of GMO maize would be done “under strict supervision for milling and distribution and grain styled for stock feed.”

Muhambi also said small millers were more widespread in the communities to serve consumers and ensure maize is always available.

“This is why we think we are key in dealing with the issue of drought because we operate within the communities, down to the individuals who run small mills. Those are our members,” said the SMMAZ chairperson.

He added that small to medium-sized millers were also collaborating among themselves to close gaps in the supply chain.

“Some millers might not have the capacity to import, but we can collaborate among ourselves to assist each other. Those with permits and capacity to distribute maize make sure it reaches the intended and desired consumers,” Muhambi said.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button