By Staff Reporter
HARARE: A 10-member delegation from the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe is headed for Canada to source 200,000 tonnes of wheat amid revelations the country is left with just three months’ supply of the grain.
GMAZ chairman, Tafadzwa Musarara, who is heading the delegation, said the wheat stocks were fast depleting owing to a high demand in cereals, adding the consignment from Canada would last until the next winter wheat harvesting season.
“The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe is now making deliberate attempts to directly source from Western countries in addition to the Asian sources where they are buying from and in the 2018-2019 procurement plan they are intending to bring 300,000 tonnes of both soft and hard wheat from Poland, Russia, Canada and America as well as 250,000 tonnes of rice,” he said.
Musarara said the country has been having difficulties sourcing wheat and other raw materials from Western nations because of the poor relations between the former Robert Mugabe administration and most from that region.
“Consequently, we have had traders mainly based in Dubai buying the grain especially wheat from these sourcing Western countries and resell it to Zimbabwe at a high premium making our country’s land wheat very expensive in the world,” explained Musara.
He said the post-Mugabe administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa had rekindled the relationship between Harare and Western countries, presenting business with an opportunity to re-engage their Western counterparts.
The GMAZ chairman said Zimbabwe, like many other African countries, was a net importer of wheat due to the unfavourable wheat production climate and required an average 300,000 tonnes of both soft and hard wheat.
Zimbabwe requires around 1.3 million tonnes of grain per annum, with 800 000 tonnes produced by millers.
The country requires 450,000 tonnes of wheat per annum, 250 tonnes of rice and 150,000 tonnes of sugar beans.
The highest tonnage of wheat that Zimbabwe has grown since 1965 is 185,000 tonnes produced in the 2017 farming season under the government-initiated Command Agriculture.