Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Vengelis Haritatos addressed stakeholders on the issue of wheat at a conference held today at Harare International Conference Centre.
The conference was held under the theme “Promoting Value Addition and Beneficial through Restoring Efficiency and Sustainability along the Wheat to bread value chain.” He said that the production of wheat must be boosted to meet the local demand to reduce drain on the scarce foreign currency as wheat is a very important commodity used to make bread, flour, stock feeds and other industrial products.
“The Ministry is committed to creating conditions in which production can thrive. Of course there are characteristics that we cannot change such as the climatic conditions bequeathed us by nature, the vagaries of weather and the disasters sometimes befall us. In partnership we can minimize the effects of this and optimize the positive elements that our country possesses in abundance.
“The declining wheat output is against consumption demand due to the increasing urban population and changing tastes. As you are aware that the dependency on imports exposes the country to the vagaries of global market and supply shocks which are characterized by wide price fluctuating and unstable foreign exchange rate.
“In an effort to guarantee food security and increase wheat production, Government introduced the Wheat Command Agriculture Programme. The development of the Wheat to Bread value chain would bring huge benefits to the country’s economy by creating employment, and other downstream benefits,” said Haritatos.
The Deputy Minister also said he is disheartened by some organizations that are formed to milk farmers of their hard earned money through levies which are not commensurate with services being offered and he urged Zimbabwe Wheat Board to desist from this practice.