HARARE – Zimbabwe could soon face serious bread shortages after the country’s biggest miller, National Foods, announced it is temporarily decommissioning its wheat mills.

National Foods says its foreign suppliers of wheat have instructed the company to “cease draw down of wheat stocks” after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe failed to repatriate payments.

“As you are well aware, the nation has been facing foreign currency shortages for some time. As a consequence, National Foods has faced difficulties in settling its foreign wheat supplies,” the company said in a statement.

The company said it would “mill out the wheat in process” and anticipated that their mills in Harare and Bulawayo would go silent on Wednesday, December 5.

A shortage of baker’s flour, which has been on the horizon for months, could further drive up bread prices after an earlier increase in September.

National Foods said it was working with the central bank to resolve the issue, adding that its foreign suppliers of wheat regretted the decision “but have themselves reached the point where they cannot fund their businesses.”

On Tuesday, the Zanu PF-aligned Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe sought to tamper public fears of a nationwide bread shortages.

Its chairman Tafadzwa Musarara insisted “there is enough wheat in the country and more is coming in from Lithuania.”