HARARE, ZIMBABWE — The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on June 19 said it has released $20 million needed by millers to pay for wheat that is being imported from Canada and Germany.

The $20 million will be used by the millers to pay for 200,000 tonnes of wheat that was sourced from Canada and Germany via the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) in May. The 200,000 tonnes of wheat is expected to be delivered in batches until Zimbabwe harvests its winter wheat crop this summer.

A week ago, the GMAZ wrote to the RBZ requesting an $11 million payment for the first batch of grain that is scheduled to arrive at Beira port in Mozambique this week. The request came after suppliers had demanded a full payment for the 30,000 tonnes of wheat that was being shipped from Canada. The suppliers had threatened to divert the shipment if the GMAZ failed to pay.

“Our logistics team is now working on how to transport the 30,000 tonnes of wheat that docks this week from Beira into the country whose arrival in Harare we are expecting starting next week, and we owe this to the central bank for their swift response,” said Garikai Chaunza, manager of media and public relations at GMAZ. “This is the first batch of the wheat deal, which we concluded last month in Canada and we are going to receive the same quantum every month until the winter wheat harvesting season. Our national wheat stocks were fast depleting and we are left with grain that would take the nation up to June 26.

According to the GMAZ, Zimbabwe needs at least 400,000 tonnes of wheat per year to meet its demand of about 950,000 loaves of bread per day. Government statistics indicate annual production capacity stands at 200,000 tonnes, leaving a shortfall of 200,000 tonnes, the GMAZ said.