Zimbabwe Government lifts ban on private grain sales

ZIMBABWE – The government of Zimbabwe has lifted the ban on private grain sales and granted the nod to individuals and corporates with free funds to import quantities of their choice on obtain required licensing from AMA (Agricultural Marketing Authority).

This is in bid to complement Treasury’s efforts in ensuring adequate national grain reserves.

“All those who want to import grain are free to do so, be it for domestic consumption or resale. Import licences can be secured from the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture. There is no limit to the amount of grain you can import into the country,” said Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri

“One will actually be complementing Government efforts by importing grain.’’ He added.

The intervention comes at a time when Zimbabwe has suffered reduced yields as a result of drought experienced last season. The country needs an estimated 800, 000 tonnes of maize imports to cover the gap up-to the next harvest reports the Herald.

The country, whose national grain requirement stands at 1.8 million tonnes, started the importation of 17,000 tonnes of maize from Tanzania beginning of September.

Although Government had earlier banned private grain sales and restricted the business to GMB, the minister explained that all Government efforts regarding grain imports were informed by the fact that the country did not get enough cereals or grain last season due to drought, hence the need to prioritise allocations.

“As a result, Government has had to put into place arrangements for the importation of grain. The grain that is being imported shall be for human, livestock consumption and other industrial uses,” Minister Shiri said.

July this year the government of Zimbabwe had banned the buying and selling of corn between private individuals and companies and only allowed state owned Grain Marketing Board to be the sole buyer of the commodity.

The government gazetted a statutory instrument that has classified maize as a controlled product as it seeks to encourage competition and ensure farmers get the highest price for their commodity.

It indicated that a maize producer was only permitted to transport not more than five bags of maize of a capacity not exceeding 50 kg per bag within the country upon getting authorization.

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