Zimbabwe milling industry to help milling companies weather ongoing grain shortage

ZIMBABWE—The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) says the milling industry has put in place measures to protect companies from closing on account of grain shortages.

A closer look at Zimbabwe shows the potential for a long-term food crisis. Food production in Zimbabwe has gone down over the last 20 years due to changes in farm ownership, economic problems such as inflation and drought.

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This, combined with the ongoing war in Ukraine that is causing a global grain shortage and contributing to unprecedented inflation, has the Zimbabwe’s milling industry experiencing turbulent times.

These hard times are further exacerbated by revelations that some companies have suspended operations after a flood of cheap imported mealie-meal pushed them to the brink.

GMAZ chairman Tafadzwa Musarara allayed fears that with grain shortages affecting millers, the sector could be forced to cut jobs.

However, he added that operators were working around the clock to secure raw materials in order to sustain production, supply markets and protect jobs, which have declined to 13,800 workers from about 16,000 a few years ago.

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He attributed the decline to improvements in technology, which have seen some jobs being taken over by machines, adding that this would always have a bearing on labor trends in the industry.

“We don’t anticipate any of the milling companies closing down on account of grain shortages,” Musarara told Standardbusiness.

“We have a plan in place. We are currently operating at 45% capacity and the market is well supplied and we believe that aggregate demand is slow and it will peak as we enter the agricultural marketing season.

“We have cotton, maize and other crops being sold and that will inject a lot of cash into the rural economy.

“We are working very well and it is in our best interest that we help the market in order to meet commercial and viability objectives.”

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The GMAZ last month secured 400,000 tonnes of maize as a means of ensuring food sufficiency in the country, following an invitation by cabinet for private grain millers to commence maize imports using free funds to complement local stocks.

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