Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE Bulawayo Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depot has received 880 tonnes of wheat from South Africa with more deliveries expected in the next few days to support the local milling industry.
Of late, Zimbabwe has been faced with inconsistent supplies of bread in the market as flour millers have cut on production due to wheat shortages.
Speaking by telephone yesterday, GMB Bulawayo depot manager, Mr Sam Matabeya, said the consignment was part of the first 1 760 tonnes of wheat consignment his depot was set to receive from South Africa.
“The consignment arrived from South Africa yesterday (Wednesday),” he said.
“We got 880 tonnes of wheat and some trucks are along the way besides the rail wagons that we received.
As we offload the wagons, there are South African trucks that are also on their way through the Plumtree Border Post to complement wheat deliveries by rail.
“Under the first consignment, we are expecting 1 760 tonnes to have been delivered at the depot in the next few days.”
Mr Matabeya would not be drawn into revealing the value of the wheat his depot was receiving.
The Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) this week said bread supplies were set to improve soon following the arrival of 19 000 tonnes of wheat, which was bonded in Beira.
The wheat was released after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe paid US$7 million last week.
GMAZ said the development will increase flour availability, and consequently bread supplies on the market.
GMAZ public relations manager, Mr Garikai Chaunza, has said the wheat will cover national flour requirements in the meantime.
Last month, Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos said the Government was in the process of importing 200 000 tonnes of wheat through GMB to alleviate shortages of bread in the country.
He said the country consumes 30 000 tonnes of wheat a month and the 200 000 tonnes Government was importing will last almost seven months.
Wheat is one of the strategic crops but the country is not producing enough to meet national demand hence Government is importing to cover the deficit.
This winter season, the Government has said the country has enough inputs for 60 000 hectares under Command Agriculture and 15 000ha was under the private sector giving a total of 75 000 ha under wheat.
To encourage more farmers to venture into wheat farming, Government is working on incentives for wheat farmers. — @okazunga.