Grain Milling companies abusing maize subsidy – Parly Committee told

By ZBC Reporter
A NUMBER of milling Industry players are said to be in the habit of abusing the maize subsidy by exporting it to countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) creating a shortage of mealie-meal in the market.
The maize subsidy programme was created by the government in December last year to help cushion the vulnerable public.
Speaking during Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Water and Climate chaired, Justice Mayor Wadyajena, where several milling companies appeared before parliament on the distribution of wheat received from Grain Millers Association Of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) and also to highlight challenges they face as millers.
Wayne Moss, a miller, managing director of Machiareer Investments emphasised on the need for the Parliamentary Committee to investigate the abuse of the maize subsidy as some bigwigs in the milling industry are reportedly in the business of exporting subsidised maize.
“The abuse of the maize subsidy program is high and needs to be dealt with. I can tell you there is abuse within Grain Marketing Board (GMB) which I think you are already dealing with, which will come out. There is abuse of who gets what allocation. Processors are using roller meal maize to process other commodities. There is so much going on, maize going to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), its subsidised maize, that’s being given to us by the government to provide food for the country that’s not being used for those purposes but something else.
“In Mutare, if you go to a retailer, I have evidence which I could forward to your office, there is mealie-meal being sold at ZWL$110 via money transfer. You can not supply mealie-meal at ZW$110 transfer if you importing the maize it has to be subsided maize. Subsidised maize is for roller meal not for super-refined maize. We try so hard it is so tempting to take the maize and do all the other things with it but its not for that reason and am hoping through your office we can tackle all these challenges.
“There has been no maize in the market, where is all the maize going? We have all got maize, it should be going to the shelves.”
United Milling company director, Davis Muhambi, echoed Moss’s sentiments that there are some companies which are profiting from the government’s subsidy maize programme which is meant to alleviate mealie-meal shortages within the general populace.
“We hear all sorts of stories that some of the maize is sold to bigger millers who then use that for other processes like stock feeds, porridge. It then also becomes maize that is used to make a profit. We suspect that is the maize that was being loaded to go to DRC, using trucks that carry copper from the north, which is Zambia. Then exit with Zimbabwean maize which is meant to subsidy the Zimbabwean public,” he said.