Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa defended the Grain Marketing Board’s arrangement where it buys maize for $390 per tonne but sells it at $250 to millers. While speaking at a Zanu-PF national fundraising business breakfast meeting in Harare held under the theme; “Command Agriculture and its Impact on the industry and the economy at large”, Mnangagwa said that the arrangement made economic sense.
The media thinks it is uneconomic. It is very economic. If we do not produce enough maize in this country, the millers will have to import maize from outside Zimbabwe. They will spend between $800 million and $1 billion (a year) in importing grain into Zimbabwe and that is strengthening or paying farmers in other countries. They bring in that grain at an average of the import parity price of $250 per tonne. So we got together as stakeholders, which include financial service sector, millers, seed companies, chemical companies and farming organisations and agreed with millers that they stop importing maize from other countries. If it is $800 million, they give us the $800 million which they have been using to import grain at $250 per tonne. Chinamasa has to pay $390 to the farmers. If we get the $250 from millers, Chinamasa will pay the difference of $140, so the fiscus has been assisted and the millers just have to draw grain from GMB.