Bread Price Goes Up

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BREAD price has gone up in RTGS dollar terms, but has gone down in US dollar terms, showing that the local currency is losing value as evidenced by the parallel market exchange rates.

A major supermarket in Chisipite was selling Bakers Inn bread at RTGS $6.84 per loaf, or US$0.72. But there was no bread at at least three other major supermarkets in Harare CBD.

In the four key cities of Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare and Gweru, there is little or no sign of popular bread brands Bakers Inn and Proton, which control 90% of the bread market between them.

The Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) said it has engaged the government to improve the situation. 

“We are also jointly working with the bakers in engaging the authorities on a number of issues that would improve bread supplies,” said the association.

Last week, leading bread maker Lobels told industry and commerce minister Mangaliso Ndlovu that it had resolved to suspend some of its operations because of wheat shortages.

According to the GMAZ, the association needs $12.5m from the government to import wheat to avert a catastrophe. “We have 30,000 metric tons of wheat in Beira, which needs to be paid for. US$12.5m is needed urgently so that the wheat can come,” said GMAZ spokesman Garikai Chaunza.

Government figures indicate that $100m is required annually for wheat imports. The $12.5m needed could get over six weeks’ supply of the cereal because annually Zimbabweans consume 500,000 tons of wheat.

However, the government believes that the shortages are man-made. Ndlovu told journalists that the shortages could be because of “sector issues or wars”.

A senior executive at a confectionery company said that producing bread is no longer viable because of the government’s strict control over the product. 

“We now make more buns and other delicacies that are deemed as luxury because their prices are not under the watchful eye of the government,” he said.

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