GMAZ Battles With Flour Prices As Imported Wheat Costs Surge

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By Mbekezeli Ncube

THE Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) says it is battling to contain local bread flour prices amid escalating costs on imported wheat.

The rise in international prices has resulted in delays in import deliveries, something that has also been compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Millers import wheat from countries such as Russia, Canada and Germany.

Global wheat prices have leapfrogged from US$415 per tonne before the Covid-19 pandemic to US$450.

GMAZ chairperson, Tafadzwa Musarara confirmed to in an interview that the rise in wheat prices and the lockdown of most countries due to Covid-19 was seriously affecting wheat imports into Zimbabwe.

“This predicament (rising of wheat prices) is with us as well but we are grateful to command agriculture which is giving us 200 000 tonnes of wheat, which is 50% of our national requirement and this is going to save the country’s foreign currency,” he said.

“Together with the ministry of agriculture, the cabinet committee on grain mobilisation and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, we are monitoring and managing the situation. What we can confidently say is that we are food secure.

“We have a firm wheat supply pipeline where we are importing the cereal for two main reasons which are, to cover for the deficit arriving from local wheat production so that we meet the 400 000 tonne national requirement, and the second reason being that of enhancing the quality of bread flour.”

Zimbabwe requires 400 000 tonnes of wheat per year and last managed to produce half of its national requirement despite serious challenges in the past since the launch of the controversial land reform programme at the turn of the century.

Since the past 20 years, Zimbabwe has been importing wheat and maize from the SADC region and other countries.