GMAZ arranges $5m facility for millers, bakers
The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe has arranged a $5 million facility for small millers and bakers, which will go towards resuscitating closed companies and increasing capacity for those still in operation but ailing.
The facility, to be launched during the first week of February, will serve as an incubation exercise for a period of not more than six months and the company will be weaned off. No collateral will be required as the facility is on a risk participation basis, GMAZ national chairman Tafadzwa Musarara said Friday.
“The facility supports Government’s efforts to reduce imports through Statutory Instrument 64 which limited the influx of cheaper products that can be locally produced,” said Mr Musarara.
“Imports were killing the local milling and baking sectors but since the introduction of the measures by Government, we have seen operating space being created for local players to increase capacity and bring back some companies that had stopped production. We have also seen an improvement in capacity utilisation which we expect to boost after the introduction of the $5 million facility,” he said.
Part of the facility will go towards recapitalisation and improving capacity utilisation of operating small millers while the other part has been reserved for the reopening of companies that had closed but still had equipment. Of the facility, $1 million has been reserved for funding of flour purchases by small bakers.
“In the past decade, we have seen lost small millers and bakers and this has resulted in fewer brands in the market. Also, we have seen the death of small bakers and a monopoly being created where only three bakers control 80 percent of the market. This is a real threat to food security and we felt duty bound to strengthen small millers and bakers,” said Mr Musarara.
The thrust of this programme is to ensure that in each district there’s a small miller and baker so as to increase the number brands on the market and enhance competition.
We hope this will also improve consumer choice. GMAZ is the representative body of agro processors and has a number of programmes to improve the milling industry.