Wheat policy options in Zimbabwe: a comparative advantage approach
MetadataShow full item record
Zimbabwe is unusual among SADCC countries in producing most of its own wheat. From 1965 to 1975, rapid growth in wheat production transformed the nation from a net wheat importer to a net exporter. Although wheat consumption has since overtaken production and revived the need for imports, domestically-produced wheat continues to make up the major part of supply. Recent developments suggest that Zimbabwe’s current high level of wheat self-sufficiency may be threatened. Demographic and economic factors have increased the demand for bread and other wheat based products more rapidly than domestic wheat production has been able to expand, forcing the government to rely on imports to make up the shortfall. Commercial imports averaged around 100,000 mt in each of the last three years and would have been even greater had the government not imposed limits. Wheat is currently rationed to millers, who claim that demand exceeds the available supply by at least 25-30%. While such figures are difficult to substantiate in the absence of reliable consumption data, the millers’ claims are supported by the appearance in Harare of occasional bread lines.