BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
WHEAT producers have reportedly hiked prices by 16% per metric tonne, which is likely to trigger increases in the prices of flour and bread, bakers said yesterday.
The price of imported wheat has gone up to US$510 from US$440 per tonne, according to National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe president Dennis Walla.
A loaf of bread already costs between $140 and $150 and Walla said there would be another increase to cover the rising costs.
“Obviously, it (wheat prices) has an effect in terms of the prices of bread because it means the cost of flour would have gone up,” Walla said.
“There are different players, and being players who specialise on bread, we are at the end of the value chain. So if there are any movements that are taking place in the value chain, it means everyone within that chain is going to be affected. In these issues, we obviously communicate with government as well to just apprise it of the challenges that are taking place.”
Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe chairman Tafadzwa Musarara said local wheat millers were battling to survive due to the surge in imported wheat prices.
“Local wheat millers are battling with surging imported wheat prices caused mainly by weather vagaries like droughts and floods which are affecting major wheat producing countries. This has precipitated significant decline in world wheat supply.
“The price of imported wheat into Harare has moved from US$440 per metric tonne to US$510, a 16% increase. At this time of the year, we are using mostly gristing of nearly 80% imported and 20% local wheat,” he said.
Musarara added that the high cost of capital coupled with the continuing decline of world wheat supplies exacerbated the problem.
He said Russia, the main producer, had cut its exports by 12,5 million metric tonnes, a move which was affect the buying countries.
“The continuing decline of world wheat supply is worrying with Russia, a top wheat producer, cutting its exports by 12,5 million metric tonnes to 72,5 million metric tonnes. The trend is also affecting Canada and US, who are other top world wheat producers,” he said.
Zimbabwe, however, expects to produce enough wheat this year to meet its needs of 360 000 tonnes.
The country forecasts a wheat harvest of over 300 000 tonnes in the current season, with national stocks at 70 000 tonnes, making Zimbabwe wheat self-sufficient for the first time
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