Mozambican government to subsidise wheat imports and inspect price of bread

9 September 2010

Maputo, Mozambique, 9 Sept – The Mozambican government plans to subsidise wheat imports and increase inspection and milling companies and bakeries to ensure that bread prices are frozen, the Mozambican minister for Industry and Trade, António Fernando said Wednesday in Maputo.

A day after the Council of Ministers announced a freeze on the price of some essential goods that last week led to clashes between the population and the police in Maputo, the Ministry for Industry and Trade met Wednesday with representatives of milling companies, bakeries and retailers.

The aim was to find ways of ensuring the measures announced by the government were put into place, including maintaining the previous price of bread (5 meticals), by introducing a subsidy.

The president of the Breadmakers’ Association, Victor Miguel, also at the meeting, said that most of the bakeries had implemented the previous price, as the subsidy makes it possible to recover the amount spent on importing wheat.

The measure is also aimed at other importing companies, specifically those importing tomatoes, potatoes, onions and third rate rice (the price of which was also lowered on Tuesday).

In a country that produces just 5 percent of the wheat it consumes, the government has encouraged mixing wheat flour with cassava flour to make bread, as a way of reducing the cost of what is considered to be a staple food for the urban population.

The announcement of the rise in the price of bread was made in July by the Mozambican Breadmakers’ Association, which at the time justified the measure with the rise of almost 300 meticals in the price of a 50 kilogram bag of wheat flour, due to restrictions on exports from Russia, which lost large tracts of arable land to wildfires this summer. (macauhub)