BY MISHMA CHAKANYUKA
The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) says the country’s flour stocks have improved, but has warned bakers not to “waste” supplies on confectionary and biscuits because the situation was still delicate.
In a statement, yesterday, GMAZ chairman, Tafadzwa Musarara said flour supply to the bakeries from the millers was now set at 500 tonnes per day, which is equivalent to 1 million loaves against a national daily demand of 1,4 million loaves.
“We are, therefore, calling upon colleagues in the baking industry to shun baking of confectionery and biscuits so that they deploy the entire wheat flour supply to bread baking. This development follows the intervention of the President of the Republic, His Excellency ED (Emmerson) Mnangagwa that unlocked significant wheat grain stocks to the milling industry. The supply of bread to the market is recovering.”
Musarara said wheat imports had started coming in from Beira.
“Wheat imports have started coming in from Beira and we are grateful for the dispensation we got from government to allow the private sector to import 100 000 metric tonnes of wheat and clear the pipeline before Grain Millers Board becomes the exclusive importer of wheat,” Musarara said.
“The entire East and African region is in a net importing position currently and the Zimbabwe situation is not unique. In order to deliver and guarantee availability and affordability of the flour and bread, government safety nets in the wheat value chain are welcome.”
Even during the best of times Zimbabwe produces just a third of its wheat requirements estimated between 350 000 and 400 000 tonnes yearly, relying on imports from as far as Russia, Ukraine and Canada, but as a pressing shortage of foreign currency in the southern African country intensifies the situation has become more dire.
Bread prices have gone up more than threefold since the beginning of the year.