Wheat stuck at Beira as bread shortages persist

Millers have called on the Transport ministry to intervene to expedite the transportation of wheat into the country after it emerged that a consignment of imported wheat is stuck at Beira.

By Freeman Makopa

Zimbabwe last week imported 30 000 tonnes of wheat after some millers had closed shop due to the unavailability of the cereal.

Only 3 000 tonnes have been received so far while the rest is stuck at the Mozambican port.

A letter written by Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) general manager Lynette Veremu to Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Joel Biggie Matiza on October 15, 2018 showed that National Railways of Zimbabwe was given the task to transport wheat to Harare, but as to date, only 58 wagons of wheat have arrived since September 16 and 179 wagons are still stuck in Beira.

“In order to immediately commence to stabilise the bread supply, we requested and NRZ committed to bring in at least 50 wagons a day in Harare. Regrettably, only 58 wagons have arrived in Harare since September 16, 2018. We understand that currently 179 wagons laden with imported wheat and stuck in Beira, while the bread supply here remains critical,” Veremu said.

“We are humbly requesting your esteemed office to intervene and cause NRZ to, in the interests of national food security, deliver 50 wagons a day without fail.”
Zimbabwe requires about 460 000 tonnes of wheat annually. The national wheat requirement is 38 000 tonnes a month and the current national consumptions stands at 1,5 million loaves a day and at least $20 million per month to meet rice, salt and wheat requirements.

NRZ public relations manager Nyasha Maravanyika told NewsDay he did not know the status of the wheat shipment as he was out of office.

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