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Millers Blame Zimbabwe State Grain Monopoly For Mealie-Meal Shortage

The Internet news site ZimOnline has quoted Zimbabwe Grain Millers Association Chairman Thembinkosi Ndhlovu as saying the country is out of maize meal because the state monopoly Grain Marketing Board has no grain to provide to millers

Supermarkets in Harare, the capital, were out of maize meal on Tuesday and said no deliveries of the national staple food had arrived in the past two weeks.

The Grain Marketing Board's acting chief executive officer, Samuel Muvuti, could not be reached for comment on the ZimOnline report saying the GMB had no maize.

Grain and Cereal Producers Association President Denford Chimbwanda said, though, that most farmers have yet to transport their maize to state granaries because of the severe shortage of fuel needed to process maize on the cob and take it to market.

GMB and other officials have announced the start of maize collection. But others say producers in districts like Murehwa and Mtoko, in Mashonaland East province have become unhappy about the GMB's failure to collect maize and pay on time.

The government estimates a maize harvest of 1.8 million metric tonnes in the current market season, but independent sources put the figure at just 800,000 tonnes.

Correspondent Irwin Chifera of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported.

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