Reports have emerged that suggests the officials in the Zimbabwean government bought maize from Tanzania and paid $600 US per tonne. This is despite the fact that the current average price for maize is $240 per tonne. This would mean that the government was duped into paying $340 above market price.

The report suggests and implies that the deal was at the instigation of corrupt elements within the Zimbabwean government. The assumption is that these corrupt elements would then share the loot with those selling the maize as they would receive kickbacks.

The Zimbabwean government has however denied this was a corrupt deal.

Zimbabwe is paying its farmers ZWL$4000 for a tonne of maize based on an FOB import parity. Tanzania is one of very few countries in the region with maize to export as most were affected by drought. That said, we are not paying them US$600 per tonne

Government spokeperson Nick Mangwana on Twitter.

What is interesting is that although he denies the government paid $600 per tonne he seems to accept that the government paid well above market price. Shipping maize is not very expensive and Zimbabweans have eaten yellow maize (“keny” as it is called) during most droughts.

Much of this yellow maize is imported from the US at well below this outrageous price the government is accused of paying.

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