Augustine Mukaro/Shakeman Mugari
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is importing poor quality wheat from Intshona Agricultural Products of South Africa, the same company that
supplied substandard fertiliser to Zimbabwe last month.
The controversial fertiliser imports cost former Agriculture permanent secretary Simon Pazvakavambwa his job last
Intshona supplied between 160 and 800 tonnes of fertiliser, prejudicing the country of up to US$300 000.
Confidential documents to hand show that Intshona was awarded a contract to supply 600 000 tonnes of wheat to Zimbabwe. The first tranche of 90 000 tonnes is expected by the end of the month, following a deal signed between the RBZ and Intshona in June.
The wheat has been classified as BS1 and BS2 grades, which experts said was low quality wheat best suitable for stockfeed.
The wheat is described “as per South African standard, mixed quality of BS1 and BS2 grades or equivalent of protein 10%, specific weight 72kg, germinated grain 5%, moisture 13,5% and grit 0,5%” by Christa van Louw, Intshona executive chairperson in a letter dated September 25.
The letter was countersigned by Millicent Mombeshora on behalf of the RBZ.
Experts said wheat for human consumption should not contain any germinated grain and should have a density of around 75% and a protein content at around 14%.
“Once there is germinated grain, that wheat should be recommended for stockfeeds,” experts said.
The wheat costs US$345 per tonne.
President Robert Mugabe recently summoned RBZ governor Gideon Gono and Agricultural minister Joseph to explain their involvement in the procurement of the substandard fertiliser from the South African company.
The new grain deal has triggered fears that there could be senior officials linked to Intshona who are benefiting from import deals.
Bakers said poor quality wheat lacks glutton needed to give bread the rubbery properties which keep it fresh for some time.
“Lack of glutton results in substandard bread that crumbles when you try to slice it,” one baker said.
He said this explained why most bakeries had stopped selling sliced bread which had become common in supermarkets.
* Meanwhile, another letter written on the same day regarding maize imports shows that Intshona will also supply 190 000 tonnes of maize by March 2007 as first tranche of the consignment.
“Intshona Agricultural Products (Pvt) Ltd, hereby confirms with full corporate and legal responsibility, under full penalty of perjury that we are ready, willing and able to sell product mentioned Non-GMO Maize,”