Zim to sign maize importation deal

Business Reporter—

Zimbabwe will, by next week, sign a 100 000 tonnes maize importation deal with Mexico following successful negotiations with the central American country’s agriculture minister held in South Africa last Saturday.This year, Zimbabwe is the biggest buyer of Mexican maize, having already imported about 517 000 tonnes from the central American country since the beginning of the year.

In total, Government and the private sector have since January imported 632 000 tonnes of grain from around the world.

The deal was negotiated between the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe, the representative body of the country’s millers and Mexican Minister of Trade for Europe and Africa Carlos Sanchez Pavoz and his high level delegation of grain producers and exporters.

The GMAZ delegation was led by chairman Tafadzwa Musarara.

“GMAZ will sign up for 100 000 metric tonnes of white maize to be supplied by Terra Wealth to supplement its grain reserves,” said Mr Musarara, who is in strong position to take up the vacant Grain Marketing Board post of chief executive officer.

“We are finalising on the payment instrument and hope to complete that in the next seven days. We are speeding on the signing of the agreement because we are competing with Venezuela for the Mexican maize,” he said.

Further to that, a GMAZ delegation is set to visit Mexico before the end of the year to meet other prospective maize suppliers.

Mr Musarara said two Mexican maize producers and exporters, Terra Wealth and Megacante, are keen to participate in maize contract farming in Zimbabwe.

In that regard, the Mexicans are due to visit Zimbabwe in January next year to tie-up the loose ends in the contract farming deal and also explore other investment avenues within the agricultural sector.

Currently, Zimbabwe has enough grain to take the country to the end of February and the additional 100 000 tonnes is expected to push the country through to August next year.

GMAZ said last month that the grain situation in Zimbabwe will remain stable in the short to medium-term to see the country through to the next season owing to Government’s strategic grain management and the private sector’s importation programmes.

The experts said the country has enough stock to cover for the drought currently ravaging the southern African region, cited as the worst in 40 years.

Currently, Zimbabwe is sitting on 320 000 tonnes of maize in Strategic Grain Reserves and 65 000 tonnes of wheat.

The private sector has close to 200 000 tonnes.

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