Govt acts on bread, maize meal prices

Govt acts on bread, maize meal prices

Grain millers’ members will be able to receive 20 000 tonnes of wheat each month from the Grain Marketing Board beginning next month, as the government attempts to protect the people from further bread price increases, a Cabinet Minister said on Monday.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube announced a package of measures to control runaway inflation and stabilize the exchange rate, claiming that a predicted shortage of maize meal and wheat flour, due to a poor agricultural harvest this year, had resulted in skyrocketing bread and maize meal prices.

While the Strategic Grain Reserve was below optimal levels, he stated that government assistance was urgently needed to stabilize the price and availability of maize meal and bread flour.

“The government should provide 20 000MT per month to millers for the next three months, beginning in July 2022, at the import parity price computed using the current inter-bank rate.” Millers have stated that they will import 70 000MT of wheat within the same time period. “The wheat will be sold at an import parity price of USD680 (per tonne) converted into local currency equivalent at the current exchange rate,” he explained.

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 $75 000 plus the US$90 at the prevailing inter-bank rate. The selling price of maize to millers will, therefore, be at ZWL$106 680.”

Mthuli 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.

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