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Zimbabwe millers lobby for wheat flour import restrictions

by Staff reporter
31 Aug 2016 at 06:34hrs | Views

Grain millers are lobbying Government for the inclusion of all types of wheat flour on Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 so that they be subjected to the same import control regime as other products listed under the measure as they seek to halt the continued decline in national bread consumption.

National bread consumption has fallen sharply to under one million loaves per day from around 1,5 million about five years ago.

This translates to a bread flour requirement of about 400 tonnes of flour against an aggregate national installed flour milling capacity of 2 100 tonnes per day.

In this regard, the millers said continuation of bread flour imports is self-destructive because current national bread flour demand is less than 25 percent of national installed flour milling capacity.

In a letter to Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha, dated August 22, 2016, Grain Millers' Association of Zimbabwe chairman Tafadzwa Musarara said the import control measure fully complies with the expectations of international law and in particular Article 20 of the SADC Consolidated Trade Protocol.

"Grain Millers' Association of Zimbabwe, the apex representative body of the milling industry salutes your ministry for the courageous, radical, conscious and constructive decision to promulgate SI 64 of 2016 in order to re-ignite the manufacturing sectors in Zimbabwe," said Mr Musarara.

Realising that local industry was being weakened by the use of a stronger transacting currency, the United States dollar, a challenging operating environment and the influx of imported products that were locally available, Government introduced SI 64 which restricted importation of certain products.

In the same vein, millers want Government to include all types of wheat flour under the import control measure to safeguard manufacturers and contract farming while at the same time boosting the agro-processing sectors by creating capacity.

"In view of the foregoing, GMAZ hereby applies for the inclusion of all types of wheat flour on the SI 64 so that they be subjected to the same import control regime as those product categories listed," said Mr Musarara.

"This, again, will facilitate the successful attainment of the goals and objectives of Zim-Asset," he said.

Source - chroncile