HARARE - Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has filed an urgent chamber application seeking to temporarily stop government from enforcing its controversial directive that maize be sold at $390 per tonne.
The High Court chamber application comes hard on the heels of a constitutional application by GMAZ alongside the Grain and Oil Seed Traders Association.
In the first application, the two associations argue that their constitutional rights have been breached by the government order that was issued by Agriculture minister Joseph Made
Under the new statutory instrument, millers face arrest if they negotiate maize prices with farmers.
With the constitutional issue likely to take longer to finalise, the association, through their lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara, want the High Court to provide an interim relief, “pending the final resolution of this matter.”
The millers now want government to be stopped from enforcing the law.
According to the court application, government and Agricultural Marketing Authority should be “temporarily interdicted from acting in terms of SI 122 of 2014 against the applicants
and their constituent members by compelling the applicants members to purchase maize from grain producers at $390 per tonne,” pending finalisation of the matter at the Con-Court.
GMAZ is also seeking to interdict Made and AMA “from confiscating the applicant members maize so purchased below minimum prices.”
In the application, AMA, Made and the Attorney General have been cited as respondents.
According to court papers, government announced in April this year through the media that Cabinet had approved a maize producer price of $390 per tonne for the 2014-15 marketing season.
GMAZ claimed in court papers that the price approved by Cabinet only applied to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
The association argues it was not affected by the directive and proceeded to purchase maize and other grains from various producers at negotiated prices.
According to State papers, members belonging to GMAZ bought maize from producers and farmers at prices ranging between $280 and $300 per tonne.
On August 8, Made made a decree through the AMA (Minimum Grain Producer Prices) Regulations 2014, also known as SI 122 of 2014.
The said promulgation was retrospectively validated to April, the court heard.
According to Made’s promulgation, the $390 per tonne floor price applied not only to grain purchases made by the GMB but to all grain purchases made by any buyer including all the GMAZs members.