Skip to comments.Zimbabwe's biggest milling company shuts down flour plants
Posted on 10/11/2005 10:33:06 AM PDT by Clive
HARARE -- Zimbabwe's biggest milling firm, National Foods, has shut down its flour mills because of a severe wheat shortage that bakers on Monday said could see bread supplies drying up in the next few days.
In a letter to the Ministry of Industry and International Trade a copy of which was seen by ZimOnline, National Foods financial director John Pilgrim said the firm that employs several hundred people had as of October 10, 2005 shut down its flour making plants in Harare and Bulawayo.
Pilgrim said the decision to shut down the plants was taken after the last 400 tonnes of wheat had been milled last Saturday while there were no indications of further supplies from the government's Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
"We have not received orders from GMB and therefore our Harare and Bulawayo mills will be closed from Monday 10 October 2005 until we receive further wheat allocations," read part of Pilgrim's letter that was sent to Industry Ministry on October 6.
Industry sources said National Foods, which controls a 70 percent share of the flour market, was the only milling company that until now was still supplying most bakers.
The second biggest miller Blue Ribbons Foods stopped milling two weeks ago after running out of wheat while Victoria Foods, which is the third biggest miller, was said to have a few more tonnes of wheat left in stock.
National Bakers Association executive member David Govere said the wheat shortage had grounded the flour making industry and warned Zimbabwe could run out of bread in the coming weeks.
Bread, which sells for about Z$28,000 or slightly above US$1 a standard loaf, was already in short supply in the country.
Govere said: "What I knew was that only National Foods was left with a substantial tonnage of wheat and they were also very few stocks at Victoria Foods. As for Blue Ribbons, they have not milled anything for the past two weeks."
Both GMB boss Samuel Muvuti and Industry Minister Obert Mpofu could not be reached for comment on the matter.
Zimbabwe consumes 30,000 tonnes of wheat every month. The country used to grow about 90 percent of its wheat requirement with the remainder that was imported being used mainly to mix with locally produced wheat to improve flour quality.
But Zimbabwe has been unable to produce enough wheat since President Robert Mugabe began seizing farms from whites giving them to landless black villagers who have failed to maintain production because they lack skills and inputs.
In addition to wheat, Zimbabwe is also facing acute shortages of the main staple maize. An estimated four million people out of the country's population of 12 million people could starve unless more than a million tonnes of food aid is urgently supplied. - ZimOnline
The eeville Whitey would not give them the secret codes for, uh, making stuff plant itself and grow.
The farm invasions put the seed grower farms out of existence and what seed that was left in storage got eaten.
There have been instances of farmers who had been forcibly driven off their land receiving calls from the "settlers" who replaced them to come fix the pumps on the bore holes that the settlers had burnt out.
There have been instances of settlers ignoring irrigation equipment while they sent their wives and children on kilometer long hikes to the nearest stream to fetch water.
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