Millers have proposed to pay farmers in USD as a way to empower the producers and possibly increase grains output, The Herald reports.
The matter came to light at a Bulawayo stakeholders meeting when GMAZ President Tafadzwa Musarara was answering questions from the media. Musara said they were having problems with the subsidy program and they had proposed to pay grains producers in USD to the government:
We have serious structural issues with our subsidy programme . . . why is it that we are the only one with maize-meal shortage? It has to do with policy review and others.
We have also requested that millers be allowed to go and buy maize directly from farmers in either local currency or US dollars because some of the maize we are importing, we have been paying in US dollars using free funds.
We feel that those with free funds and doing other products like stockfeeds might want to use their funds and go outside Bulawayo, for example, and pay the local farmer in US dollars as compared to paying the local farmer in local currency yet we still remain importing and paying the foreign farmer in US dollars. We feel the Government must consider doing this so that we promote our own farmers,
The government is the only exclusive buyer of maize produced in the country, despite giving millers with free funds the go ahead to import maize last year after the drought that ravaged the country.
More: The Herald