News Column

Delta Wins in Maize Case

August 24, 2014

Noah Pito



The case in which a Karoi farmer is suing Delta Beverages for allegedly buying maize from farmers in the area at below Government gazetted price of US$390 per tonne has been dismissed. A Karoi magistrate, Mr Sam Chitumwa, ruled in favour of the beverages manufacturing company recently. In his judgment, Mr Chitumwa said Mr Never Gasho had failed to establish grounds for instituting the interdict since his application was based on hearsay.

It did not have supporting affidavits or documents, among them a copy of the statutory instrument he had alluded to in his application. "This application is misplaced and mischievous. It is accordingly dismissed with costs," said Mr Chitumwa.

Mr Gasho last month filed an application at the same court seeking to stop Delta Beverages from buying the grain at US$260 per tonne, which he said was far below the Government gazetted price. Mr Gasho, who was not represented, had cited the company's Karoi Depot and its manager as the first and second respondents respectively.

He challenged the practice by Delta, which he said was unfair since the company never contracted the farmers.

He also challenged Delta's deviation from its core business into a province of the GMB, arguing that the company was also fleecing the farmers and defeating the Government efforts and achievements both in the agrarian reforms and in the implementation of Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.

In an opposing affidavit Delta, through its lawyers Dube, Manikai and Hwacha of Harare, denied the allegations, arguing that Mr Gasho had no personal knowledge on the allegations since he had not sold any grain to Delta. It also said that there was no statutory obligation on private maize buyers such as Delta to buy grain at the Government-gazetted price since this only applied to the GMB then.

Delta added that it had a trading licence from the Agricultural Marketing Authority and a permit from Karoi Town Council allowing it to purchase maize in the area.

"First respondent has not deviated from its core business as alleged since a number of its beverages demand and necessitate the purchase of various grain products such as maize, sorghum and barley. The purchase of grain is therefore an inherent and indivisible element of first respondent's core business," read part of the affidavit.

Delta also wanted the case dismissed with costs.

Meanwhile, most private maize buyers operating in Hurungwe for speculative purposes have since vanished from the verandas of some shops as the trade no longer rewards handsomely, following the recent promulgation of Statutory Instrument 122 of 2014, Agricultural Marketing Authority Regulations (Minimum Grain Producer Prices) that compels companies and individuals to buy maize from farmers at US$390 per tonne.


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Source: AllAfrica


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