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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Zimbabwe short of bread and flour
Zimbabwean woman holds money and a loaf of white bread
Record inflation rates may rise further if staple foods run short
Zimbabwe faces shortages of bread and flour, the government has warned, which may cause even more hardship.

It says the planting of this year's wheat crop is well behind target and the season ends in two weeks' time.

Zimbabwe's agricultural sector has been in decline since the government's chaotic seizure of white-owned farms began seven years ago.

The government blames shortages of fuel and fertiliser, but disturbances are still reported on commercial farms.

According to Zimbabwean officials, farmers have only planted 10% of the expected winter wheat crop.

Zimbabwe faces a huge maize deficit this year, making it dependent upon imported food, and food aid for the most vulnerable.

The government had already declared 2007 "a drought year".

Teams from the United Nations are currently making a more detailed assessment.

A report in the government controlled newspaper - The Herald - says Zimbabwe's sugar industry is also experiencing problems, including industrial action by workers.

An official of the governing Zanu-PF party says he is concerned about a nationwide sugar shortage.

Last week, households in Zimbabwe were told they would be limited to four hours power supply a day in a move designed to support the country's wheat farmers who need power to irrigate their crops.

The monthly rate of inflation rose to 2,200% in March, the highest in the world.

This has led to widespread shortages of fuel and food.

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