LOCAL millers and bakers are today expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for buying flour.
Under the agreement, bakers will purchase flour from local millers, in a move expected to boost production and markets for the locally produced wheat.Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe president, Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said the MoU will see bakers buying more than 150 000 tonnes of flour from local millers.
“This is a positive move which will also benefit farmers. Millers will now be able to contract farmers,” he said.
Bakers’ Association of Zimbabwe official Mr David Muchinguri said bakers have always been supporting local millers.
“We have always been supporting local millers by buying their flour. This will indirectly boost wheat production,” he said.
Wheat production has been on decline for the past years due to lack of funding and the high risk associated with the crop, which include constant power supply.
This season farmers planted 3 000 hectares of the crop against a target of 40 000 hectares after Government and the private sector failed to fund farmers.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president, Mr Wonder Chabikwa said this season most farmers failed to plant because of viability challenges.
“The current wheat price is not viable and therefore many farmers would not want to grow the crop,” he said.
He said it costs US$2 950 to produce a hectare of wheat with an average of three to four tonnes per hectare.
“With the current wheat producer, price, it will be difficult for farmers to break even and obviously farmers no longer want to venture into unviable projects,” he said.
This season, a total of US$84 million was required to fund wheat production.
The bulk of the money was expected to come from the private sector which includes millers and bakers.
Millers withdrew their funding at the last minute after Government failed to come up with a Statutory Instrument to guide the contract system. Herald