With fears of a hunger strike after low rainfall in the 2018/2019 farming season, this year, the Zimbabwe Government has introduced a Statutory Instrument which controls the sale of maize amongst the country’s citizens as well as the purchasing of the grain from Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
Statutory Instrument 145 of 2019 (S.I.145) says that no person or statutory body or company or entity shall sell or otherwise dispose of any maize except to a contractor or to the Grain Marketing Board.
“No person who is not a producer of maize or who is not a contractor shall sell maize to the Grain Marketing Board,” the S.I.145 says.
“Any maize which is required to be sold to the Grain Marketing Board in terms of this section shall be delivered to the Grain Marketing Board at such time, place, and quantities as the Board may direct and under such terms and conditions as the Grain Marketing Board may provide.”
The latest statutory instrument, under the Acquisition and disposal of maize says that no person or statutory body or company or entity shall buy or otherwise acquire any maize from any farmer or producer otherwise than through the Grain Marketing Board.
“A person who acquires any maize for use as seed shall not use or dispose of that maize for any other purpose unless with the written permission of the Grain Marketing Board,” the regulation reads.
“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 officer having to confiscate the maize.”
Maize producers are only permitted to transport their produce exceeding the given volumes when transporting to grain to GMB or after acquiring a letter from the police allowing the movement of such goods.
The move by the government comes at a time when the country’s farmers are expected to have produced 776 600 tonnes of maize, which is 54% lower than the 2018 output of 1,7 million
Zimbabwe may be forced to this year import around 900 000 metric tonnes of grain to cover the deficit increased by weather phenomena which include drought and Cyclone Idai.