Wheat will not last until April

About 212 000 tonnes of wheat is expected this season and 68 000 tonnes of this had already been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board by early October.

Wheat deliveries started on September 16, much earlier than expected. The harvest is 62 percent of last year's crop of 340 000 and will not last the country until April because of increased demand as consumers are substituting wheat and bread for maize.

The country will therefore need to import 200 000 tonnes of wheat before the next harvest in October 2003.

The government has increased the producer price of the crop from $40 000 to $70 000 a tonne to ensure viability of the farmers.

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