Government enhances financial support to wheat production

By Owen Mandovha

THE government’s financial support to the winter wheat scheme has been welcomed as a timely intervention to sustain local supply and offset disruptions to global supplies.

After lifting the ban on grain imports, the government this Tuesday went a step further and announced a financial support package to the tune of US$10 million for the Presidential Wheat Input Scheme to guarantee local wheat supply in the wake of the ongoing global supply disruptions.

Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) President, Mr Tafadzwa Musarara welcomed the move, revealing that 60 per cent of wheat imports are from Ukraine and Russia, hence substituting these imports through support to farmers is key to guarantee local supply.

“The financial support to farmers for the Presidential Winter Wheat programme is a testimony of the need to ramp up local production, especially on the backdrop of disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine export 30-35 % of global wheat and Zimbabwe gets about 60% from these two nations hence the intervention by the government seeks to increase local production aimed at averting any future shortages as well as managing prices,” he said.

Buy Zimbabwe General Manager, Alois Burutsa says the policy stance of import substitution which was enhanced by the Second Republic is the right call to cushion the nation against any potential external shocks such as war.

“We have religiously pursued import substitution as enshrined in the National Development Strategy One policy blueprint by encouraging our local manufacturers, farmers included to produce enough to sustain the nation. The government has taken a deliberate policy thrust to achieve that hence we embrace and commend it for supporting the wheat sector so that we do not run out of supplies,” said Burutsa.

The proactive move by the government has been widely seen as key to ensuring that the nation is self-reliant on its supply of staple grains and other key raw materials.