Wheat stocks at critical levels: GMAZ

Harare Bureau
A SHORTAGE of wheat is looming as the country holds less than two weeks’ cover following the National Railway of Zimbabwe’s low uptake of wheat from Mozambique.
The Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe, in a letter to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Munesu Munodawafa, said the non collection of wheat which is currently occupying BGT storage, is causing three more other ships to fail to dock and offload.

“Our records indicate that there’s less than two weeks’ national cover which, if the wheat inflows do not improve in the next five days, may cause shortages of bread and related products in the market,” GMAZ national chairman,Tafadzwa Musarara, said in the letter.

“The collection of wheat is 30 days behind and we have at least 22,000 metric tonnes of wheat at Beira terminal, delivered by Thai Hunter and Shanghai ships,” said Musarara.

National Bakers’ Association of Zimbabwe president, Givemore Mesoemvura, said his association is looking at bringing in flour to complement GMAZ efforts to avert a disaster.

“We normally buy flour from the millers as and when we need it, but we’re bringing in more flour while the millers are bringing in wheat,” said Mesoemvura.

He said stakeholders are meeting to find a lasting solution to the problem.

“As the bakers’ association and millers we’re engaged in a meeting to ensure that the situation is under control,” he said.

No comment could be obtained from Munodawafa.

In their letter to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development permanent secretary, GMAZ said the milling sector had taken a safe aggregate position of 100,000MT of wheat for this festive season.

The millers said regrettably, NRZ is only loading an average of 15 wagons.

“Our follow-ups with operations director (not named) has been, to say the least, frustrating. We therefore, seek your esteemed office to cause an urgent intervention. GMAZ had even proposed to procure and pay for additional tarpaulins for NRZ after learning that their tarpaulins stocks had suddenly run down,” said Musarara.

The GMAZ chairman said the milling industry is the second biggest NRZ customer after the petroleum industry.

“Further, NRZ’s attitude will definitely impact on national food security. While we can engage road transport as an alternative, we’re dissuaded by the current road construction activities happening on the Mutare-Harare highway, which we welcome very much and applaud you for,” said Musarara.

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