According to Newsday, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), which is in charge of the country’s grain stockpiles, has indefinitely halted grain distributions to millers. GMB slashed millers’ maize allocations from 100% to 75% in February, and then to 50% in March, according to unnamed sources who spoke to the GMB. Now it seems allocations have been suspended. If true, this will result in massive, marked and very visible shortages in mealie-meal in the market already several supermarkets are no longer carrying cooking oil and maize-meal-this is about to get worse.

We have gone for more than six weeks without an allocation. We are getting supplies every four weeks.

We used to apply and get allocations each month, then submit returns around mid-month. We started getting 75% three months ago, then last month, it went down to 50%.

On Friday last week, we made payments and waited for allocations, but everything just stopped.

They didn’t give us any reasons, but we are told by people at GMB that they want to increase the maize producer price in order to attract deliveries because the $75 000 is now very low.

We are also told stocks are running out and it’s obviously true and that’s why they allowed us to import freely.

An unamed source speaking to Newsday

It is now hard to know what the situation is really like. A few weeks ago the government claimed the country had enough grain reserves and that there was no need to panic. Then we learnt of a letter to the GMB in which the government threatened to deploy the army against illicit grain traders and now this. The signs of trouble have been very visible from the market side where shortages, not very acute at the moment, are already visible.