Slam tariff on SA maize imports - Zim millers

Harare - The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe, which represents the country’s major milling companies, said it wants the government to impose a 40% of tariffs on imports of maize and maize meal because its struggling to compete with cheaper South African maize grown from genetically modified (GMO) seeds.

The imports are harming Zimbabwe’s attempts to improve food security by boosting local production, Tafadzwa Musarara, the chairperson of the association said in an e-mailed response to questions.

"The local milling industry has been on the end of the stick with regards to South African imports as South African millers literally dumped cheap GMO maize meal into our economy and its time Zimbabwe realign its economy by localising production of its staple foods," he said.

Zimbabwe also imports corn from Zambia.

Zimbabwe, once a corn exporter to its neighbours, has been importing the grain since a failed land reform program that began around 2000 during which mainly white commercial farmers were stripped of their land. That land was then redistributed to black subsistence farmers.

Zimbabwe has spent $7bn on corn and corn product imports since 2002, Musarara said.

The association has committed to buying 800 000 metric tonnes of locally grown corn and 100 000 tonnes of locally grown wheat this season, the association said in a separate submission to parliament.

The country has wheat stocks of 115 000 tonnes, which it is struggling to use because of wheat flour imports, it said.

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