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Minister allays bread shortage fears

by Staff reporter
14 Dec 2022 at 06:36hrs | Views
HIGHER and Tertiary Education minister Amon Murwira says the country will not experience wheat and bread shortages because it has 13 months wheat supply, signifying a good wheat harvest.

Responding to questions during a media briefing yesterday in Harare ahead of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (Ruforum), which will be hosted by Zimbabwe, Murwira said the Russia-Ukraine war laid bare Africa's potential for food security.

Ruforum aims to explore ways to produce high performing graduates and high-quality research that meets new and changing needs for farmers on the continent.

"The Ukraine-Russia conflict has happened at a time Ruforum can actually leapfrog because its relevance has been laid bare. Just like the relevance of universities was laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic; it was an unfortunate incident, but it helped us to see that using our brains, we can go ahead," Murwira said.

"For the first time in the history of the whole country, we have a 13-month wheat production. We used to have wheat only for three months and import the rest of the nine months. This time we are not going to import. This issue of Africa becoming a market for everyone and a place where people show their goodness by donating things must be a thing of the past. Africa must be able to produce its own food.

"What happened is a wake-up call to say all the scientists and academics' hands are enough to make the continent proud. What we are doing through Ruforum is to develop capabilities to meet that vision. We have transformed from Education 3.0 to 5.0 (which advocates for innovation and industrialisation)."

This year, government projects that it will harvest between 380 000 to 400 000 tonnes of wheat, exceeding Zimbabwe's annual needs.

According to the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe, wheat from Russia accounted for at least 50% of the country's wheat imports as local wheat is adjudged not good enough for bread making. Murwira said local universities such as Chinhoyi University of Technology, Africa University, Gwanda State University, University of Zimbabwe and Great Zimbabwe University were leading in agricultural innovations.

More than 10 countries, represented by their Higher Education ministers, are participating at the Ruforum conference.

The union consists of 157 African universities.

Source - Newsday Zimbabwe