Zim imports pile up at Beira due to currency shortage

Zimbabwe needs about 400 000 tonnes of wheat every year to meet its requirements.

A shortage of foreign currency in Zimbabwe continues to cause problems with imports.

The latest challenge is 19 000 metric tonnes of wheat piling up at Mozambique’s port of Beira and it can only be released once payment has been received.

Port authorities in Beira, losing patience with the situation, have written to the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) demanding immediate payment and collection of the large wheat consignment, which has been bonded for almost six months in the Mozambican port city.

According to news reports out of Zimbabwe, GMAZ chairman Tafadzwa Musarara has written to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, John Mangudya asking him to urgently attend to the Beira port issue.

Zimbabwe needs about 400 000 tonnes of wheat every year to meet its requirements. Last year the country harvested a mere 160 000 tonnes.

"The local wheat supply now have less than 60 days’ national cover and this puts national stocks in a precarious state with high risk of stock-out,” Musara was quoted by the state-owned newspaper, The Herald.

FTW Online spoke to representatives for two freight services agencies at the port of Beira who admitted to facing “some challenges” around imports stockpiling at the port – particularly wheat.

One agent said his company mostly dealt with importers’ representatives on the ground in Mozambique.

“They generally pay us to clear the goods out of the port and get them on to trains bound for Zimbabwe, so we mostly avoid the headache of non-payment,” he said.

 


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