This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

Zimbabwe changes grain policy

Зимбабве сменя зърнената политика

The wheat market in Zimbabwe is undergoing radical changes. To promote self-sufficiency in wheat supply and reduce the country's dependence on imports, the government liberalized its heavily regulated market. Greater involvement by both the state and private enterprises is part of the reason that significantly more local wheat has found its way to market in recent years.

Bread plays a central role in the menu of Zimbabwean consumers. Much of the processed wheat originates in the US, Canada and Europe. But in the past, the high rate of inflation and constant currency crises in the country often led to shortages of foreign currency, which in turn interrupted imports and caused food prices to rise.

To address supply problems and reduce dependence on imports, the government introduced a number of measures to encourage local wheat cultivation.

The main element of the reforms is the liberalization of the raw materials market. For a long time the growing and trading of wheat was solely in the hands of the government; but for several years, private market players have been able to participate in the financing, production, and sale of staple foods such as corn, wheat, and soybeans.

One important player in the market is the Food Crops Association (FCCA), a consortium made up of commodity traders, banks, millers and other stakeholders. According to the FCCA, three-quarters of Zimbabwe's wheat crop has already been financed by private companies in 2023. Harvested quantities have increased significantly. While 375,131 tons of wheat were produced in 2022, there is a record 408,000 tons for 2023.

In addition, the area under wheat continues to grow. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, they increased from 66,000 hectares in 2021 to 86,000 hectares in 2023.

Unfortunately, growing local wheat production has a downside. The wide variety of local varieties leads to variable product quality. Also, wheat grown in Zimbabwe has significantly worse baking properties than hard red winter (or spring) wheat from the United States or Canada, for example.

But, the variable flour qualities and lower protein levels of regional wheat varieties can be compensated for with proper flour processing.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published