CHIPINGE - Macadamia nuts growers and merchants can find themselves behind bars if they fail to register with Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) as demanded by new regulations.
AMA regularises the production, marketing and processing of agricultural products in Zimbabwe.
Statutory Instrument 138 of 2019 (Agricultural Marketing Authority, Macadamia Nuts Regulations) forces growers, buyers and processors of macadamia nuts to register with the authority, failure of which can attract penalties.
Rose Ruzario, a Manicaland inspector who manned an AMA stand at the Chipinge Agricultural Show from 05 - 08 September, told TellZim News the regulations were meant to ensure that both the farmer and the country derived maximum benefits from the produce.
“Every person who intends to grow, sell, buy or process macadamia nuts has to be regulated to do so. Farmers must get grower numbers and merchants must be given licenses to trade in macadamia nuts. A fee is charged for the process,” said Ruzario.
She said the new regulations were meant to protect the industry which has the potential of making a more substantial contribution to the economy.
“There were a lot of irregularities before the introduction of the regulations but the industry is now guided by some controls.
“Farmers are expected to declare the size of their macadamia orchards which helps to estimate production from each grower. The authority can keep a record of what has been sold and exported,” she said.
She said any breach of the regulation would attract penalties against the offender.
“Inspectors are allowed by law to seize unregistered macadamia nuts and offenders can be taken to the court on criminal charges and they would be liable to a fine not exceeding level 4 or imprisonment not exceeding three months or both,” she said.