By Alois Vinga
THE Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has bemoaned continued price increases on wheat and maize owing to depleted global yields which have seen the cost of importing grain surge.
However, the country’s grain processors say they were working with authorities on ways to mitigate the impact of the situation on the poor majority that is emerging from a devastating Covid-19 induced lockdown period in which incomes either dwindled or were lost.
In a recent update, GMAZ national chair, Tafadzwa Musarara said local importers were already feeling the pinch as a result of recent increases.
He however maintained that relevant authorities were being consulted to minimise the impact of increases.
“The prices of maize and wheat on the world market have started to surge caused by depleted yields in the leading producing countries.
“As expected, upward changes on the import parity prices have now started to manifest.
“GMAZ is now working with the central bank to mitigate these increases and consumer spend ahead of the festive season,” he said.
In June this year, government removed import restrictions on maize and wheat flour in attempts to address the scarcity of the cereal commodities.
Owing to a combination of a deteriorating economy, poor agricultural practices and a recurrent drought, Zimbabwe has failed to produce enough grain to feed a starving population for almost two decades and remains heavily import reliant.
The millers group also welcomed the current local currency stability for consequently bringing about price stabilisation and above adequate supply level of essential food on the market highlighting that the noble development has come at an opportune time soon after the Covid-19 lockdown.
“We want to assure our consuming publics that the grain milling industry is working very closely with government in ensuring that the current progress is sustained in the interests of promoting food security at household level,” said Musarara.
GMAZ also expressed optimism that the Pfumvudza programme will be the biggest maize imports substitution alternative that will deliver millions of low-income households from charity basket to self-sustenance.
The association also guaranteed the supply of maize and wheat ahead of the festive season.