The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has warned that the country faces an imminent shortage of bread due to low levels of wheat. In a memo, the GMAZ warned that the wheat levels have fallen to their lowest since 2005 due to the fact that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has not been allocating foreign currency for the payment of the wheat. Most of the wheat is imported from British company Holbud Limited which is already owed $12.5 million. Part of the memo written by the association’s general manager, Lynette Veremu, on September 4 to the group’s chairman Tafadzwa Msarara, reads,
The national wheat supply situation has severely deteriorated to low levels since 2005…the available stocks are 28028.116 against a required minimum national three-month stock level of 114,000 metric tonnes. The current monthly national requirement is 38,000 metric tonnes.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is yet to remit the USD 12,450,000.00 to the wheat supplier, Holbud Limited (UK), and the GMAI’s Ecobank Wheat account is adequately funded. No remittance has been made despite the commitment made by RBZ Governor on 28 August 2018. Holbud Limited has grown impatient and threatens to divert stocks currently at Beira to Mozambique and Malawi Millers.
With respect, wheat and fuel are both in category 1 of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe foreign payment remittance priority list. Regrettably, fuel gets USD 21.000.000 00 per week religiously but wheat is not getting a paltry USD 12.450,000.00 per month for the entire national monthly requirements.
Self-raising flour has disappeared in many shops nationwide. Small bread bakers are stocked out. I strongly recommend that you alert the powers that be of this predicament as the country is fast plunging into severe flour and bread stock-outs in the next few days.