Two of the biggest bakeries in Zimbabwe said last week that they were about to run out of flour, adding to bread shortages. Lobels Bread, the country’s biggest bakery and Innscor, which runs Bakers Inn, have used up reserve flour stocks.

President Mugabe’s government is only importing small quantities of wheat, as it cannot afford to pay for 36,000 tonnes stuck in Mozambique. Zimbabwe’s wheat harvest, due at the end of October, is expected to be the lowest since 2000, when the government seized productive farms from white farmers for redistribution to blacks.

Over four million Zimbabweans - around a third of the population - will need food aid between now and March, according to the UN’s World Food Programme.