ZIMBABWE -The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has appealed to the government to suspend shop licensing laws to allow more middlemen to distribute stock from the millers.

GMAZ chairman Tafadzwa Musarara said that local millers have stockpiles of products that need to be dispatched to the consumer to allow continued production and supply to the market for the industry not to encounter loses.

“As millers we are now appealing to our Government to help us as millers to distribute our stocks to the consumer since shops in the western suburbs were destroyed to the ground.

“We need a middleman between us and the consumer and for now we are asking if it is possible to suspend shop licenses so that we can sell to anyone willing to get the product to the consumer,” he said

This comes at a time when local millers are fearing expiring of their products due to limited uptake by retailers following the current instability of the country’s economy.

“What happened in the past week is quite unfortunate because it disrupted the flow of agribusiness and also affected numbers of maize meal stocks.

In spite of the unfortunate events, millers have enough stocks to meet the nation’s growing demand for maize meal,” said Musarara.

Judith Ncube, Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister said Government was working on ways to deliver basic commodities to the areas that were affected by the recent protests which she says negatively affected the milling industry.

“… the burden of providing food security rests with the Government in terms of the Constitution, and of course we’ve been licensed to provide those services.”

As a result of the recent unrest, the country’s milling industry has lost stocks worth $3 million.

However, Zimbabwe is a net wheat exporter producing less than a third of its national wheat requirements estimated at 350 000 tonnes to 400 000 tonnes per annum.

Wheat is a major commodity in the country’s food basket attracting significant investments into the country with Sunset, Blue Ram, Blue Ribbon, National Foods Victoria Foods and Unifoods, Wheat Star, and Power Foods being some of the major industrial players in the sector.