ZIMBABWE – Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe have warned over shrinking wheat flour stocks that may adversely impact on bread supply in the country, reports New Zimbabwe.

In a notice to the National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe this week, the grain millers association said that this is as a result of the country’s inability to finance its wheat imports.

“We regret to advise that the current stocks for foreign wheat for bread flour have depleted to 5800 metric tonnes, and at a blend ratio of 50% with local wheat, we are left with less than 8 days of national bread flour supplies.

We have circa 30000 metric tonnes of wheat in bond in Beira and circa 22000 metric tonnes of wheat in bond in Harare available immediately after presentation of Telegraphic Transfer Swift Copy.”

Zimbabwe largely purchases wheat from other countries after which millers blend it with a locally grown grain for use in the local market.

However, the country has been struggling to finance the wheat it imports with the Grain Millers Association, for example, owing at least US$80 million to wheat suppliers, reports EWN.

Furthermore, the country’s economy has been grappling with challenges whereby manufacturers have lamented over the encroaching forex shortages and declining consumer spending which has resulted to price hiking of commodities such as beer and bread.

The country’s baking has also succumbed to the crisis and in a bid to stay afloat in their operations, bakers saw bread price increase to up to US$2.7, which necessitated government’s intervention to reducing the price to US$1.8.

This comes at a time when Zimbabwe millers are seeking to be allowed to set prices of wheat products, rather than have it done a government-appointed body.

GMAZ faulted the absence of a collective price review mechanisms as the reason for unrestrained price hikes, creation of serious and severe inflationary pressures, food insecurity and subsequently, social unrest

According to a recent study by the bakers’ association, Zimbabwe’s daily bread consumption is currently estimated at 950,000 loaves with the national bread market dominated by Bakers Inn, Lobels and Proton as the largest bakers in the country.