BY VENERANDA LANGA
THE dozens of wheat-laden trucks that had been stuck at Beira port in Mozambique following Cyclone Idai devastation more than a fortnight ago are said to be finally heading for Zimbabwe.
Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe spokesperson Garikai Chaunza said: “The bread situation in the country is set to improve because the 100 trucks that were holed up in Beira are now crossing Forbes Border Post and are trickling into the country in instalments because most of the wheat was not affected, although some of it got wet, but the losses were not huge.”
Chaunza also indicated that more than 30 000 tonnes of additional wheat is expected into the country next week with a ship expected to dock in Maputo after Beira harbour infrastructure was extensively damaged when Cyclone Ida made landfall on March 14.
“We are expecting another ship to dock next week with 30 000 metric tonnes and we have directed the ship to dock in Maputo and then the wheat will be transported through Chiqualaquala Border Post,” he said.
Chaunza said the wheat mainly comprised of imports from Europe which are being brought into the country at a cost of US$415 per tonne, while local wheat can be procured from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) at a cost of around ZWR$630 per tonne.
However, he said the country’s wheat is gristed, which means that some bakers mix it with other imported wheat in order to produce quality bread.
“We have to import wheat because the country is only producing less than half of what we require every year. The rest of the wheat used for bread-making is imports because our farmers are unable to produce enough wheat to satisfy the country’s requirements,” Chaunza added.
Zimbabwe needs about 400 000 tonnes of wheat every year to meet its requirements. Last year the country harvested a mere 160 000 tonnes.
Last week there were reports that the country was only left with one month’s supply of wheat.