Millers allay festive season shortage fears as 30 000 tonne wheat imported

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

ZIMBABWE will next week take delivery of 30 000 tonnes of wheat to complement some 130 000 tonnes produced by local farmers this season.

This was revealed by Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chair, Tafadzwa Musarara while addressing a press conference in Harare on Tuesday.

His comment follow reports that some locals were in the process of buying and stocking mealie meal, flour and related products in anticipation of shortages during the festive season.

“There is no need for panic buying milling for bread, meal-mealie and flour. All our millers have enough wheat to take us through the festive season,” Musarara said.

“I just want to say with authority that everyone who is in the milling industry is benefitting from the wheat that we have imported as GMAZ.

“We are expecting a ship with 30 000 tonnes of wheat from a small country called Lithuanian that is arriving next week.

“We also have a ship that docked last month and all milling companies have got wheat from that ship.”

Musarara added, “All milling companies have benefitted from last years’ wheat and some still have it. It’s important that the truth be told.”

The GMAZ boss said his organisation was also working with packaging companies to avert any shortages during the festive season.

“We are working with packaging companies to make sure there is enough packaging materials for Christmas.

“All millers will remain operational and we are more than ready to support them and our focus is simply milling,” he said.

Musarara said as millers, they have moved from wheat shortages to the price issues.

“We are fully aware of the critical role of our industry towards attaining food security and all times we act responsibly. We frequently update the market given the economic challenges we are facing,” he said.

“The milling industry, like any other sector, is facing serious shortages of foreign currency.”

He said millers were among sectors being considered by government for foreign currency allocations as witnessed by the commitment placed by the central bank in the last months in meeting payment for wheat importation.

Musarara also said individual milling companies were at liberty to also import wheat for their own operations.