HARARE – Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairman Tafadzwa Musarara has said the milling industry has taken steps to protect businesses from closures due to grain shortages.
Zimbabwe’s flour milling industry has seen turbulent times lately, with news that some companies have gone out of business after a glut of cheap imported flour sidelined them.
Musarara revealed that operators were working around the clock to secure raw materials to maintain production, supply markets and protect jobs, which fell to 13,800 against about 16,000 a few years ago.
“We don’t anticipate any of the milling companies closing down on account of grain shortages,” Musarara was quoted by The Standard newspaper.
“We have a plan in place. We are currently operating at 45% capacity and the market is well supplied and we believe that aggregate demand is slow and it will peak as we enter the agricultural marketing season.”
The maize purchase by GMAZ follows a Cabinet invitation in February to private millers to start importing maize using free funds to supplement local stocks.
Zimbabwe’s food shortages have been blamed, along with the world, on supply cuts after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
It is estimated that Ukraine has 20 million tonnes of grain in its silos but is struggling to transport it as ports have been closed due to the war.
The conflict between the two countries has pushed up the prices of various products.
It has also led some countries to ration the number of items customers can purchase.
Musarara allayed fears the sector could be forced to cut jobs given grain shortages hitting millers.
However, he said improvements in technology, with some jobs being taken over by machines, would still impact employment trends in the industry.
- Editor/ additional report by The Standard