THE Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) says millers have managed to secure adequate wheat and maize supplies as demand is anticipated to grow during the coming Festive Season.

“The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and private silos have in stock in excess of 1 million metric tonnes of white maize, which is adequate to supply the commercial market beyond July 2022,” Tafadzwa Musarara GMAZ chairperson told the media Friday.“

“As a result of a bumper harvest, current prices of maize meal in US dollars are deflating and the competition among millers is cut-throat. Consumers are benefitting from the wide choices of brands on the shelves. Had the country, not embarked on this noble and successful local wheat farming, we would be gravely susceptible to changing global wheat prices,” he said.

“At the moment, global wheat prices are on the surge due to reduction of global wheat export supply by 16,5 million tonnes. Imported wheat landed in Zimbabwe is above US$530. This has substantial potency to increase both bread and flour pieces per loaf of bread significantly. Without wheat production, bread would be selling upwards of US$1,25 per loaf.”

Musarara added: “We are delighted and encouraged with the 2021 winter wheat harvest that has now exceeded 220,000 metric tonne deliveries to the GMB.

“Deliveries are still continuing; this year’s wheat production will be the biggest wheat import substitution programme since the commencement of wheat production in this country.

“Bread flour supply is above adequate and our colleagues in the bakery industry are doing commendable work as the market is well supplied.”

However, the GMAZ boss appealled to the government to scrap the value-added tax (VAT) on backdated rice imports.

“This country remains a net importer of rice, however, due to generational dietary changes, the youth dividend is now moving towards rice rather than traditional maize meal.

“This change in consumer consumption has seen the national rice consumption increase from 18,000 metric tonnes per year in 2005 to 150,000 metric tonnes in 2020,” he said.

“The introduction of rice cookers on the local market has contributed tremendously to the increase in rice demand. However, we are appealling for the scrapping of VAT backdated rice imports,” Musarara said.