Africa report: Zimbabweans will have bread for Christmas; Nestlé tackles malnutrition in Kenya; Sudan hikes flour subsidies; and Kenya’s potential loss
Zimbabwe’s flour crisis seems to have almost come to an end and bakers are now receiving flour supplies.
Until recently, only a small group of commercial bread producers received a measly 200 tons of flour per day, affected by the country’s crippling shortage of wheat.
Millers have now increased this to 650 tons per day for bakers, not far short of the daily 800 tons needed by the country’s bakers to produce bread and other baked goods.
Small bakeries and confectionaries – which had stopped receiving flour last month – are now receiving supplies.
“This improvement is because of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which has paid in full the entire wheat consignment we received last month,” said Tafadzwa Masarara, chairman of the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe.
He said flour supplies to bakers are expected to normalize by November 25, on which date a second shipment of about 30.000MT of wheat is expected to dock at Beira in Mozambique.
“If this consignment is paid for in time we should have enough supplies for the festive season,” said Musarara.
Wheat harvests will also augment supplies. Zimbabwe expects to harvest between 120,000 and 200,000 tons of wheat – although only half of annual national requirements.
As bread stocks dwindled, panic buying among Zimbabwean consumers did not help the situation, with indications that daily consumption had shot up to 1.8m loaves in the past two month from 1.2m loaves.
Bread price capped
The price of bread has been hiked dramatically since the beginning of the year, necessitated by the constant rise in commodities and other manufacturing costs, according to the National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe (NBAZ).
Last month, bakers announced they were hiking the price per loaf up to Z$2.20 (US$0.60) per loaf, but agreed to a cap on Z$1.40 (US$0.38) after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) agreed to meet 80% of the foreign currency bakers need to fund wheat imports.
In a statement, the NBAZ said, ‘We have made every effort to keep the bread price affordable.
‘We therefore notify the public that the price of a standard loaf should not exceed $1.30 and $1.40 to the wholesale and consumers respectively, flour being at a maximum price of Z$36.50 (US$10.08) per 50kg bag.’
Nestlé’s nutritional awareness scheme
Nestlé has joined forces with Tembo Education to drive nutritional awareness in East Africa.
The partnership – launched through HENRi@Nestlé – will utilize the Nestlé for Healthier Kids initiative to send out customized, nutrition-based curriculum to parents via SMS and WhatsApp messages.
The aim is to help parents provide their children with the best possible nutrition by delivering information, tools and tips that could tackle malnutrition and potentially save lives.
HENRi@Nestlé is the snacking giant’s platform through which it partners with companies to create innovative, high-potential solutions in response to brand and business challenges. It is named after Nestlé’s founder Henri Nestlé, who was motivated by the challenges and needs of society.
Selected companies receive $50,000 and business support to fund pilots to bring products and ideas to individuals and families.
According to Kenya’s County Departments and UNICEF last year, nearly 73,000 children are severely malnourished in Kenya alone.
The program will use mobile connectivity to get its messages across, which is increasing rapidly in Africa.
Intelsat reports that phone penetration is as high as 80% in the East and Southern Africa region (ESAR), with more than 672m people across the continent benefiting from 2G services.
“Mobile is without a doubt the most utilised communication platform in the world – it’s only right that organizations start to use the platform to reach those who need help the most,” said Phil Michaels, founder and CEO of Tembo.
“In no area is this more critical, than in the education of the region’s young children. Parents need to be involved in their children’s education – the mobile is the perfect portal to enable them to do so.”
“We believe this project is a real step forward in realizing our joint goal of making 50 million healthier kids by 2030,” said James Ojambo, project lead, Nestle.
Gerardo Mazzeo, global innovation director at Nestlé, added, “Combining Tembo’s educational capabilities with our scale and reach, we’re confident that we're going to improve health – and ultimately lives – across the region.”
Sudan ups flour subsidies
Sudan has increased flour subsidies by 40%, after a reduction in subsidies sent bread prices sky-rocketing, triggering violent protests.
According to the country’s Finance Ministry, the government will contribute 35m Sudanese pounds (US$737k) daily instead of 25m.
Earlier this year, the reduction in flour subsidies sparked nationwide protests after bread prices doubled. Inflation climbed to a record 66% in August, one of the highest rates globally.
Sudan’s economy has been struggling since the south seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of oil output and depriving Khartoum of a crucial source of foreign currency.
Kenyan cereals board’s potential loss
The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) of Kenya risks losing over Sh4bn (US$39m) as private millers argue over the price of maize.
The board is holding more than 200,000 90kg bags of the grain, which it imported at Sh4,000 (US$39.00) per bag.
However, private millers are reluctant to buy the produce and are instead opting for cheap produce from Uganda for Sh1,500 (US$14.63) per bag.
The consignment is part of the 630,000 bags the NCPB released to millers last year at Sh2,300 (US$22.44) before the end of the country’s subsidy program in December.
The government had imported Sh6bn worth of maize under the program to lower flour shelf prices that had hit Sh153 (US$1.49) for a 2kg packet.
The revelation comes after the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) reported that 60% of maize in the NCPB store – estimated at Sh7.6bn (US$74m) – is contaminated and unfit for human consumption.