Michael Tome Business Reporter
INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister , Nqobizitha Ndlovu has commended efforts being put together by the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) to stabilise grain supply and production in the country. Minister Ndlovu was addressing delegates to the GMAZ extra ordinary meeting which was convened to deliberate on the grain supply strategy for 2019 to 2020 as wheat farming season kick starts this week.
The convention was held on the back of the country’s urgent need to address critical supply of basic grains to minimise the ever growing import bill and ease supply gaps.
According to the Ministry of Industry the country is currently producing between 25–35 percent of annual domestic needs in both soya beans and wheat and there is also inadequate supply of potatoes and milk.
“I believe that the initiative by Millers to support farmers is a commendable and critical intervention we need at this point.
“Only through close cooperation between the producers of primary products and manufacturers of those products can we ensure and achieve self-sustenance.
“I want to implore other players in the private sector to take a leaf from this and consider various forms of integration and collaboration,” said Minister Ndlovu.
GMAZ pleaded with Government to ensure that redistributed land is industriously utilised to realise the intended adequate supply of wheat, maize and other basic crops for local industry.
However, GMAZ president Tafadzwa Musarara bemoaned the El Nino induced drought and the recent Cyclone Idai which ravaged South Eastern parts of the country destroying some water reservoirs in the process hence depleted water levels for winter cropping.
“Climate has a direct influence on business. Look at the impact of climate misfortunes that befell us this summer season. We are working on wheat contract farming which we had allotted initial target of 150 000 tonnes but we have revised it downwards on account of low water levels in the dams,” said Mr Musarara.
Apart from Zimbabwe or Southern Africa Impacts of climate change have been felt across the globe, heat waves in the northern hemisphere have caused wheat yields to come down,
Europe and America have also been hit by heat waves in the past 12-18 months causing a surge in global wheat prices as a result of low supply.