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Published On: Wed, Aug 31st, 2016

Grain millers petition Bimha

HARARE – The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has petitioned Industry minister Mike Bimha to include wheat flour on the imports ban list.

GMAZ chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara yesterday said the latest request was necessitated by the fact that national bread consumption has sharply fallen to under one million loaves per day.

“This translates to a bread flour requirement of circa 400 metric tonnes of flour, against an aggregate installed national milling capacity of 2 100 metric tonnes per day. Continuation of bread flour imports in this regard is self-destructive because current national bread flour demand is less than 25 percent of national installed capacity,” he said.

Musarara noted that most of the country’s bread manufacturers were already resorting to procuring and using locally manufactured flour.

“The switch to local flour is adequate indication that the local millers are now able to produce the high quality flour that all local bakers need,” he said.

This comes as agriculture experts contend that the suspension of self-raising flour imports will spur local wheat contract farming and will see increase in demand of local wheat production to a minimum of 100 000 tonnes.

Musarara said the limited availability of foreign currency sources through telegraphic transfers calls for prudent utilisation of the scarce commodity.

Zimbabwe is facing serious challenges in paying suppliers of its huge import bill, and is now using a priority list to determine who gets paid first.

The priority list has seen excluded economic activities facing raw material and inventory shortages.

“In this regard, we propose that only wheat imports be allowed and be value added here in Zimbabwe, benefitting also stock feed manufacturers who will obtain the by-products,” he said. – Daily News