February 18, 2020

‘Subsidised grain being smuggled out of Zimbabwe’

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Takudzwa Chihambakwe

In a shocking revelation in Parliament on Tuesday, it emerged that subsidised grain is being smuggled out of Zimbabwe to some neighbouring countries.

This came out as millers were presenting oral evidence before the Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Settlement parliamentary portfolio committee.

One of the millers who appeared before the committee, Wayne Moss who is the managing director of Machiareer Investments said though he could not provide substantial proof, he can assist lawmakers to investigate.

“I do not have the evidence but I can point you in the right direction and you can find the evidence of maize going to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),” said Moss.

“This is subsidised maize that has been given to us by the government to provide food for the country that’s not being used for those purposes but for something else.”

Last week the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe confirmed that some millers were holding onto mealie meal they had milled from   imported maize because they could not sell at the gazetted price of ZW$50 for a 10 kilogrammes which they said was low considering the import costs.  Government later increased the price upwards to ZW$70 but the commodity is still scarce.

Meanwhile, another miller who was also presenting oral evidence before the same committee, Davis Muhambi of United Milling Company explained how the subsidised grain is being smuggled out of the country.

“When trucks that carry copper from Zambia and DRC to South Africa have finished deliveries they return empty. When they arrive at the border, they are cleared as though they are carrying maize from South Africa,” said Muhambi.

“The trucks then proceed to Harare where they pick up the maize (subsidised) and proceed to DRC via the Chirundu boarder post. This is what has been happening,” he claimed.

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