Zimbabwe may experience bread shortages after grain millers threatened to stop producing flour due to undersupply of wheat.
Bakers are also agitating for permission to sell bread exclusively in US dollars to ensure the viability of the industry.
NewZimbabwe.com reported sources as saying the industry has a serious backlog regarding forex payments which had risen to US$5 million.
This backlog is for flour already supplied by millers to bakers.
On 17 June, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) officials, bakers and millers met to discuss several issues but the meeting ended in a deadlock.
Bakers want to sell bread in US dollars, arguing that this will make them self-sufficient, just like fuel dealers, but the RBZ was said to be against the idea.
The RBZ is reportedly concerned that if bread was to be sold in foreign currency, it would automatically mean the country has dollarised and unions will push for US dollar salaries.
The milling and baking industry criticised their principal representative, Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara for failing to convince authorities to accept their demands. Said a NewZimbabwe.com source:
We met and agreed that Musarara was supposed to advise authorities that we should commence the sale of flour and bread in USD just as has been done with fuel so that we can be self-sufficient however it appears he was sweet-talked and came with nothing.
It is now two weeks since that meeting and we have had no movement, we have secured 20 000 tonnes of wheat which is already in the country and can only be released once payment is made.
Sources NewZimbabwe.com / Pindula News