HARARE, ZIMBABWE — Zimbabwe’s wheat stocks have “drastically” declined, according to a June 17 statement from the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe and could lead to shortages of fresh bread.

The association said it is in contact with the Reserve of Zimbabwe to unlock wheat consignments that are in Beira and Harare.

“We are also constantly updating our key stakeholders who include bakers on the obtaining situation,” said Garikai Chaunza, media and public relations manager for the association. “We are also jointly working with the bakers in engaging the authorities on a number of issues that would improve bread supplies.”

Scarcity in foreign currency and insufficient imports to meet demand has many firms relying on the central bank to provide foreign currency, New Zimbabwe reported. This has negatively impacted manufacturing since many firms rely on imports for production.

The Standard reported that a leading bakery has suspended operations. Bread prices have gone up more than three times this year.

The government has blamed the situation on cartels, which it said have monopolies in the industry. Government officials have said the shortages are artificial.