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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Lowveld wheat potential saviour to Zim’s bread crisis

…Tongaat Hulett delivers 1 550 metric tons of wheat at Rutenga GMB

Beatific Gumbwanda

MWENEZI-As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine turns 11 months old, Africa, which is the largest importer of wheat from Russia, Ukraine and Romania is currently on the brink as wheat supply was heavily affected due to the closure of ports in the Black Sea.
Zimbabwe’s Agribusiness conglomerate, Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe (THZ) the country’s sole sugar producer, has heeded government’s call to produce wheat in order to counteract the bread crisis which was steered by the Russia-Ukraine war.
Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe recently devoted its 600 hectares of land, earmarked for sugarcane plantations to winter wheat in order to counteract supplies which have been disrupted by the war in Europe earlier this year by delivering 1 550 tons of wheat at Rutenga’s Grain Marketing Board.
THZ’s social corporate responsibility is also premised in its response to support the country’s food security as they have been producing thousands metric tons of maize which they do in conjunction with the government of Zimbabwe as well as Masvingo Development Trust.
In an interview THZ’s head of agriculture Norman Maisiri said the quality of wheat produced in the Lowveld is different to that in the Highveld and its grade suits well with the wheat that the country imports from Russia and Ukraine.
“I cannot comment much on the issue as I am a specialist on the production side, but from my understanding, wheat that is grown here (Lowveld) and the Middle Sabi suit the grade that we import to blend with the one that is produced from the Highveld in Zimbabwe.
“If need there be, only few wheat will be imported which is a positive to the country,” said Maisiri.
He also said the company through its Social Corporate Responsibility arm, will continue aiding government whenever the need arises to ensure it is food secure.
“Last year, we delivered close to 1 560 tons of wheat to the GMB and this year, government also notified us that we need to produce wheat again as we had a maize bumper harvest two years ago. We have been partnering government in the production of winter maize and we will continue doing so in contributing to the food security,” added Maisiri.
The company, which is the biggest employer outside government is doing much towards the attainment of the country’s vision 2030 of an upper middle class economy through its support system to the indigenous companies in its supply chains and has also been bailing out communities with infrastructural developments.

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