Metbank splurges more than $200 million on wheat importation

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Phillimon Mhlanga in Victoria Falls

VICTORIA FALLS – Metbank has partnered with Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) to import wheat worth more than $200 million from Canada to supplement stocks which are fast running out.

Speaking at the on-going Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) conference in the resort town of Victoria Falls today, Pamela Muzenda, Metbank’s head of trade and export finance disclosed the latest development.

She said the deal will see 30 000 metric tonnes of wheat being imported into the country from Canadian suppliers.

“We have struck a deal with GMAZ to import 30 000 metric tonnes of wheat from Canada,” Muzenda told The Business Times.

She added: “We have committed more than $200 million into this deal with GMAZ and some of the wheat is on its way into the country as we speak.”

Zimbabwe, which recently completed a deal with wheat suppliers in Canada for 290 000 metric tonnes to be shipped into the country in batches up until December 2019, needs an estimated 400 000 metric tonnes of wheat per year to meet its demand of about 950 000 loaves of bread per day.

Local annual production capacity stands at 200 000 metric tonnes, leaving a shortfall of 200 000 metric tonnes.

Millers said that wheat imported from Europe and Canada made the best nutritional blend for flour.

The partnership between GMAZ and Metbank comes after a recent visit to Canada by the association’s delegation led by chairman, Tafadzwa Musarara in search of wheat supplies as supplements for national reserves, which have been depleting.

Due to the depleted nostro accounts, the country has been struggling to import critical commodities, with the recent fuel shortages being a case in point.

The central bank is a key player in the importation of key commodities. But, it is understood that the country still owes $55 million from 2016 to wheat suppliers.