The grain millers in Zimbabwe say are pumping US$8 million towards breakfast category, boosting value addition at a time the country expects a bumper harvest.
Zimbabwe and the rest of the region are anticipating improved agriculture output after receiving good rains during the farming season.
Farmers also commended Government for the timely distribution of inputs across the country, which also contributed to improved production.
Experts in the sector say with a bumper harvest expected across the region, the country needs to invest towards value addition and reducing post harvest losses.
Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) vice chairman, Mr Chipo Nheta, said there were opportunities in the breakfast category and as such, millers were looking at enhancing production in this category.
“There is going to be excess in the region and it is very important for us to manage this sustainably.
“We are looking at US$8 investment in the breakfast category and starting March next year, we should see more products in this category on the market” said Mr Nheta during a recent virtual meeting on preparedness for the 2020/21 agricultural marketing season with Ministry of Agriculture Secretary Dr John Basera that featured various stakeholders from across the value chain.
Mr Nheta said the anticipated bumper harvest would also be an added advantage for millers as most raw materials would be available locally.
He also called on Government to put more measures towards supporting local industry especially against unfair competition from imports.
“This time we will get raw materials locally unlike in the past where we needed to import. But we want Government to intervene on imports so that millers fully benefit and all those across value chains,” he said.
This coming agriculture marketing season, Zimbabwe is expecting two million tonnes of grain to be delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB). Of this, 1,8 million tonnes will be maize while the rest will comprise of traditional grain.
Despite the good harvests, experts in the sector have indicated that excess harvest can be another form of “headache”, which needs to be managed well to avoid any form of post harvest losses.
One of the challenges farmers face include post harvest losses, especially for smallholder farmers due to poor storage facilities.
But Government has indicated preparedness for the bumper harvest to tackle any possible losses.
“One of the major challenges farmers face is post harvest losses and if they are not assisted then we are looking at billions of dollars lost.
“But the Ministry (Agriculture) takes post harvest storage seriously,” said Mr Martin Munyati from Department of Mechanisation.
The soon coming commodities exchange, which will ride on warehouse receipt system (WRS) is also expected to address challenges around storage facility.