Zimbabwe cyclone-hit comes with emergency plan to ensure strategic wheat imports to the country continue

Zimbabwe wheat production expected at record low this year following Idai cyclone. Photo : REUTERS

NEWSROOM (ADV) – Zimbabwe is facing logistical challenges in transporting its wheat imports after the port of Beira in neighboring Mozambique was ravaged by tropical cyclone Idai, an official said Tuesday.

Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara told journalists that the port was currently inaccessible but added that Zimbabwean millers were using alternative routes to move the wheat into the country and avert shortages on the market, state news agency New Ziana reported.

“We have close to 100 trucks that are supposed to come from Beira but cannot come. The current wheat that we are receiving is wet, it has been affected during transit,” he said.

He said they were now working on having a ship dock in Maputo so that the wheat can be transported from there into the country.

According to the Red Cross Society, about 90 percent of Beira was damaged by the cyclone which unleashed floods and damaged infrastructure and cut off access to the port city by roads.

In Zimbabwe, the cyclone has left 98 people dead, 217 missing, 102 injured while 42 are marooned, according to the government.

The cyclone has also destroyed roads, bridges and houses in the affected southern and eastern parts of the country.

Chimanimani district in Manicaland Province has been the most affected by the cyclone-induced floods.

Musarara said the cyclone induced logistical challenges had exacerbated the problem as the country was already facing wheat shortages due to foreign currency shortages.

“We do not have enough wheat. We are currently supplying between 45 and 50 percent of the bakers’ requirement,” he said.

The country has faced wheat shortages over the years due to low wheat production.

The country requires over 400,000 tonnes of wheat per annum but has been producing seasonal output that is sufficient for only three months.

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