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Grain millers condemn Zimbabwe's improperly bred wheat variety

by Staff reporter
03 Dec 2023 at 19:01hrs | Views
An investigation has been launched into concerns raised by local grain millers over the quality of wheat reportedly produced from an improperly bred variety, it has been learnt.

Alarmed by the sub-par quality of the wheat, the millers have voiced their concerns, citing its failure to meet the established standards. A formal complaint has since been filed with the Government, seeking swift action to rectify the situation.

Millers have raised concerns about the quality of yellow wheat produced from a variety developed by Seed Co. They noted the wheat variety was yielding flour that was "slightly off-white" in colour, falling short of the expected standards for milling and baking.

Millers indicated that the flour produced from the substandard wheat lacked the essential properties for manufacturing self-raising flour that meets their quality standards.

The wheat was reportedly grown by farmers who were supplied the seed by Seed Co.

The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ), whose members are responsible for supplying nearly all of the nation's flour, confirmed this week that the grouping had raised concerns with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development about the quality of wheat they received from farmers.

"We received the complains from all 17 GMAZ wheat millers who account for 98 percent of national flour supply. GMAZ has registered formal complaint with Agriculture Minister and the matter is under investigation.

"The wheat was received from farmers," GMAZ chairman Tafadzwa Musarara told Business Weekly.

Seed Co managing director, Terrence Chimanya, initially referred this publication to Professor Jiri, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry or Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos for a better understanding of the situation than relying solely on GMAZ's assertions.

He later confirmed the issue had been successfully dealt with upon completion of a technical assessment.

"Speak to the Ministry as they are dealing with the issue . . . they have done technical analysis and dismissed the allegations," said Chimanya.

Efforts to obtain a comment from the Government were unsuccessful at the time of publishing.

A senior executive with a leading milling firm said there was a widespread technical issue within the industry involving wheat varieties producing slightly off-white flour.

The executive said the "industry wide" challenge was being actively addressed by all stakeholders.

"There is a general issue with some of the local wheat varieties producing slightly off-white flour. This is a technical industry wide issue that the whole industry is working on."

Despite the ongoing efforts to address the issue, concerns linger that some substandard wheat may have inadvertently entered the Grain Marketing Board's silo, potentially contaminating other stored wheat supplies. This raises concerns about the potential impact on the overall quality of wheat already stored in the silos.

"While efforts are underway to tackle the issue, concerns remain alive that substandard wheat may have found its way into the GMBs silos and this could potentially compromise the quality of other stored reserves," said one source who requested not to be named.

Calls seeking comment from GMB were not answered.

Zimbabwe's wheat production increased by 24,3 percent this season, reaching 467 000 tonnes compared to the previous season's harvest of about 375 000 tonnes.

Source - eBusiness Weekly