Govt acts on bread, maize meal prices
Harare (New Ziana) – Starting next month, grain millers will be accessing 20 000 tonnes of wheat per month from the Grain Marketing Board to shore up the millers’ own supplies as government moves to cushion the public from further bread price increases, a Cabinet Minister said on Monday.
Announcing a package of measures to control run-away inflation, and stabilise the exchange rate, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said predicted shortage of maize meal and wheat flour, following a poor agricultural harvest this year, had resulted in the sky rocketing of bread and maize meal prices.
While the Strategic Grain Reserve was relatively below ideal levels, he said there was urgent need for government intervention to stabilise the price and supply of maize meal and bread flour.
“Government should release 20 000MT per month to millers for the next three months beginning in July 2022 at the import parity price calculated at the prevailing inter-bank rate. Millers have indicated that they will in turn import 70 000MT of wheat over the same period. The wheat will be sold at an import parity price of USD680 (per tonne) converted into local currency equivalent at the ruling exchange rate,” he said.
On maize, he said there would be an immediate release of the 7 000MT outstanding maize allocations to millers which had already been paid for but could not be allocated due to technical issues.
“Over and above this, millers have indicated that they have 25 000MT of maize which has already been paid for and are ready to make a swap arrangement with government, in this regard, government will release the equivalent quantity of maize from the Strategic Reserve in July 2022 against the impending delivery of the purchased maize.
“Thereafter, a further release of 27 000MT of maize from the Strategic Grain Reserve to millers at a price of ZWL75 000 plus the US$90 at the prevailing inter-bank rate. The selling price of maize to millers will, therefore, be at ZWL$106 680.”
Ncube said given the envisaged shortfall of both maize and wheat, the government would expedite the importation of maize from Malawi and Zambia, while wheat will be sourced from cheaper source markets.