Grain millers seek import ban on wheat flour


THE Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has written to Industry and Trade minister Mike Bimha seeking the ban of wheat flour imports in order to save the local industry from collapse.


Heap of corn grain

In a letter to Bimha dated August 22, GMAZ chairman Tafadzwa Musarara applauded government for the introduction of Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 which banned the importation of several locally available products such as mineral water, building materials, furniture and tooth picks.

He said the move was progressive and in fulfilment of international laws and Article 20 of the Sadc Consolidated Trade Protocol.

Musarara said national bread consumption had fallen to under one million loaves a day and continued importation of wheat flour under the current circumstances was self-destructive because demand was less than 25% of national installed flour capacity.

He said the three major national bread brands, namely Lobels, Bakers Inn and Proton, had resorted to procuring and using 100% locally manufactured flour.

“With the advent of the latest and improved milling technology and processes now available locally, the wheat varieties can on their own produce high quality self-raising flour and biscuits flour,” read the letter to Bimha.

“Further, they are adequate imported wheat stocks that are available to complement locally grown wheat. Suspension of self-raising flour imports will spur local wheat contract farming and will see an increase in demand of local wheat production to a minimum of 100 000 tonnes or 30 000 hectares.”

He added: “The consequent positive downstream spiral to other sectors such as irrigation, seed houses and fertiliser companies will be tremendous. This again will facilitate the successful attainment of the goals and objectives of ZimAsset.”

In the event of maintaining wheat imports, Musarara said this must only be for value addition in Zimbabwe to benefit stock feed manufacturers who would obtain the by-products.