Coronavirus threatening Zimbabwe grain imports, says millers group
By Staff Reporter
THE rampaging coronavirus that has killed thousands and infected more in mainland China and parts of the world has impacted negatively on the country’s efforts to import grain to feed millions of hungry locals.
This was revealed in a Tuesday statement by Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) Media and Public Relations Manager Garikai Chaunza who said the millers group has since imported 10 000 metric tonnes of maize from South Africa.
“Our National Chairman, Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara, is on a regional and international crusade where he is engaging with grain producers and suppliers, as we intensify grain procurement with the aim of complementing government efforts of ensuring food security.
“The CoronaVirus epidemic has also affected our trips to Asia and related destinations where we intend to procure rice, maize, and wheat,” Chaunza said.
Zimbabwe, which once fed the region through its mainstay agriculture, now relies on grain imports to feed surging numbers of locals needing food assistance and those able to buy the staple.
GMAZ said the latest consignment was made possible through support from central government.
The group was however dismayed government still owed private millers of ZWD120 million in roller meal subsidy refunds dating back from last December.
Said Chaunza, “We are, however, waiting for a review of the price of roller meal subsidy from the government so that we pump the product into the market and hope to improve the supply of the commodity within the next 30 days.
“Millers are currently owed an excess of ZWD120 million by the government in roller subsidy refunds dating back from last December, and this is affecting the constant supply of roller meal. Under normal circumstances, the subsidy payments should come within seven days.”