ZIMBABWE – Silo Foods Industries, a state owned agro processing company, says it will now be buying maize and small grain from farmers at RTGS$2 100 per tonne, higher than RTGS$1 400 gazetted by the government.

Last month, the government announced a new producer price of maize at RTGS$1 400 per tonne, which was increased from a previous margin of RTGS$726 a tonne, reports The Chronicle.

In a statement, Silo Foods Industries said it would be buying the grain from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots across the country and will also open collection points where farmers can deliver their commodities to avert transport costs.

The agro-processing firm encouraged farmers to continue delivering maize and small grains so that the nation meets its food security target.

The company started operating as a fully-fledged commercial business unit in April this year opening 84 shops across Zimbabwe, after it was unbundles from GMB into stand-alone business unit.

Silo Foods Industries’ outlets sell basic commodities such as mealie-meal, beans, rice, coffee, wheat flour, salt and samp as well as stock feeds.

The Government has injected US$70 million into the business for it to ramp up production with an additional US$95 million to be invested over a three-year period to make the project both viable and sustainable.

In April this year, SFI had announced that it was seeking strategic partners to inject US$55 million and US$40 million to boost its operations.

According to the company’s managing director, Daniel Maregedze, the capital injection will enable the agro-processor to expand its production capacity as well as modernise its operations.

The cabinet also approved the process of appointing the Silo Food Industries Board to give necessary strategic guidance and oversight to the entity.

After its demerger from GMB, Silo Foods inherited core manufacturing assets including Belmont Depot, Cleveland Depot, Mutare deport and Norton Stock Feeds processing plant as well as working capital support in the form of raw materials form the government.

The unbundling of GMB falls under Government’s plans to restructure State-owned enterprises, within which 41 entities are lined-up for privatisation, departmentalisation or listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.