The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) yesterday entered into a deal with bread manufacturer Bakers Inn that will see the company buying 75 percent of monthly flour requirements from local millers. GMAZ chairman Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said forward sale agreements would be entered into between Bakers Inn and millers, which was expected to run for a period of not less than six months.
The deal also entails that a minimum 220 000 tonnes of flour per annum would be purchased locally.
“This business covenant seeks to revive ailing industries, which include fertilizers, seeds, irrigation, stock feeds (companies) and many others,” he said.
Mr Musarara said the agreement would, in a significant way, resuscitate wheat production in Zimbabwe, which has been experiencing a decline in the last few years.
He said as a result of the agreement, millers were going to increase funding for wheat farmers.
“We will now leverage this secured business to fund wheat contract farming so that 60 percent or more of the required wheat is obtained locally,” he said.
Under the current season, millers withdrew their $29 million winter wheat funding, citing government’s failure to gazette a statutory instrument to protect them from side marketing.
Mr Musarara said the timing of the agreement would enable millers to buy the current wheat at viable prices.
Imports will, however, continue until local growers are able to meet national demand.
Commenting on the deal, National Bakers Association first vice president Mr David Muchinguri said the two business associations firmly believed that local farmers deserved the support of the private sector in the form of funding.
“This arrangement we have sealed today is a positive response to calls made by cabinet this year to millers and bakers to participate in contract wheat farming,” he said.