Private firms complement wheat imports

By ZBC Reporter

A LOCAL milling company has imported 30 000 tonnes of wheat to replenish the depleting stocks in a development expected to ensure the availability of bread in the country.
The consignment, which arrived in the country at the weekend, is the first batch of the millers’ private wheat imports procured using free funds following the government’s decision to allow the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) to source grain from outside the country.
In an interview with ZBC News in Harare this Monday, GMAZ spokesperson Garikai Chaunza said they have a long term plan of bringing in more cereal, adding that they are expecting to receive 50 000 tonnes of maize from South Africa.
“We received wheat from Argentina which will go a long way in making bread and other products that come from flour and also maize that will make more roller meal to be available in retail shops,” he said.
Statistics indicate that the country consumes 110 thousand tonnes of maize every month with grain imports by millers expected to ease the shortages of mealie meal experienced in some parts of the country.
Government lifted the ban on private grain sales in October last year and granted the nod to individuals and corporates with free funds to import quantities of their choice to complement Treasury’s efforts in ensuring adequate national grain reserves.
The intervention cames at a time when Zimbabwe suffered reduced yields as a result of drought experienced last season. The country needs an estimated 800 000 tonnes of maize imports to cover the gap up to the next harvest.
The country’s national grain requirement stands at 1,8 million tonnes. Although Government had earlier banned private grain sales and restricted the business to GMB, it highlighted that government efforts regarding grain imports were informed by the fact that the country did not get enough cereals or grain last season due to drought, hence the need to prioritise allocations.