THE Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has turned to crowd funding from the private sector to raise the US$25 million needed for maize imports.
The initiative is targeted at Zimbabweans in the Diaspora and non-governmental organisations operating in the country.
“Zimbabwe receives about US$90 million in remittances per month. The private sector needs about 80 000 tonnes of maize to feed the commercial market which is equivalent to US$25 million,” GMAZ chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara said during a mealie-meal distribution exercise in Epworth.
“We are appealing to our fellow citizens in the diaspora. We will be approaching them very soon to assist us in crowd-funding for the purchase of maize.
“We have some of them who are still remitting funds into Zimbabwe maybe through purchase of a car or some other assets into Zimbabwe for resale so that they can get a premium.”
According to GMAZ spokesperson Garikai Chaunza, the initiative will allow millers to request for foreign currency in exchange for local transactions by citizens based abroad.
“This is a private business initiative that has nothing to do with the government. We are simply trying to source foreign currency which is in short supply. We are simply exchanging money, they give us their foreign currency and we buy whatever they want from this side using our local currency,” Chaunza said.
This comes as GMAZ has started rolling out the distribution of stocks of subsidised mealie-meal following a bipartite arrangement between millers and the Zimbabwe Republic Police to enforce the arrangement.
The exercise is meant to limit movement among Zimbabweans searching for the staple far from where they live at a time citizens have been asked to remain in their homes as the country struggles to contain the spread of Covid-19.