Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporter
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has availed US$7 million for wheat imports as Government works to avert wheat and bread shortages in the country at time when the Bakers Association of Zimbabwe has said bread prices remain unchanged.
In a statement yesterday, the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) National Chairman Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said following the decision by the central bank to release foreign currency for wheat imports, flour supplies in the country are expected to improve within the next coming week.
“The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) is pleased to announce that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, has released US$7 million for the payment of 19 000 tonnes of wheat bonded in Beira,” he said.
He said the development is expected to improve the supply of flour and availability of bread in the country.
“The 19 000 tonnes of wheat will cover the national flour requirements for the next two and a half weeks and the National Railways of Zimbabwe is in the process of loading the paid consignment which will start trickling into the country next week. The situation is expected to improve the supply of flour starting next week,” said Mr Musarara.
“We also have another consignment of 60 000 tonnes of cereal in Mozambique whose payment we are negotiating with the central bank to settle so that the country does not run out of wheat.”
Bread has been in short supply across the country over the past week.
Yesterday, a few supermarkets in Bulawayo’s Central Business District (CBD) were selling a loaf of bread at $5 while at some outlets it was going for $6,75, from the recommended price of $3,40 for a standard loaf.
Bakers Inn outlets were however selling the bread at the recommended prices but it was being bought by mostly vendors who later sold the bread for between $5 and $6 a loaf.
In an interview, Bakers Association of Zimbabwe president Mr Ngoni Mazango yesterday said the official price of bread has not changed although they were operating at a loss due to high operational costs.
“The official wholesale price of bread is still $3 while the retail price is $3,40 for a standard loaf although we are not making anything with these prices as operating costs are very high. I am unable to comment further as I am very busy and in a meeting,” he said before hanging up.