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Millions in Zimbabwe are facing starvation due to severe wheat shortage across the country. Coupled with the nation’s current economic situation, a lack of flour has caused concern among authorities who consider the situation “acutely serious” (Reuters).
Lobel Bread, Zimbabwe’s main bread supplier, has been forced to reduce bread production, from 200,000 to 40,000 loaves per day—an 80% drop. The company states that since it has been using its reserve, it now maintains only a two-day supply of wheat.
As a result, one of its main factories in the capitol city of Harare had to send home hundreds of workers, further weakening an already deteriorating economy, which is burdened by a 7,628% inflation rate.
Due to the Zimbabwean government’s inability to pay, Mozambique has withheld 36,000 tons of its exported wheat.
Nonetheless, according to Zimbabwe’s Grain Marketing Board (GMB) the situation is not as serious as others portray it. Charles Chikaura, chairman of the state-owned GMB, said, “GMB is sitting on comfortable stocks of maize. We are certainly getting imports from Malawi. That (starvation) is out of the question. There is a lot of maize out there. Prices are good and farmers are delivering” (ZimOnline).
The World Food Program’s Zimbabwe representative, Kevin Farrell, stated that the UN agency is seeking $100 million in additional funds to distribute grain to districts in the south that have been most affected.