Bread prices hiked in Zimbabwe

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THE price of bread has gone up to $201 from $175, with bakers attributing the increase to the cost of the main ingredient, flour, coupled by escalating fuel prices.

A survey by Sunday News Business revealed that most retail shops were selling bread at new prices ranging between $190 to $201 from $160 to $175, triggering disgruntlement among consumers.

Last month, some baking industry executives warned that the situation was so dire that consumers had to brace for price increases this month to guarantee a flawless supply.

National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe (NBAZ) president Mr Dennis Walla told this publication that there were a number of contributing factors which resulted in the increase of bread prices.

“If you look at all our bakery and confectionery drivers they have gone up. Zesa electricity tariffs went up, in terms of wage negotiations, the minimum wage has gone up, fuel has been going up regularly and flour, the main ingredient, also went up.

Utilities such as the licensing fees have also gone up, so obviously those are the cost drivers that have actually caused the price of bread to go up,” said Mr Walla.

In terms of fuel, Mr Walla called on authorities to intervene to make sure bakers access Zimbabwe dollar-priced fuel.

Fuel available on the market is generally being traded in United States dollars because importers with free funds have been given the greenlight to bring in the fuel and trade in foreign currency.

But to assist companies that mostly sell their products in the Zimbabwean dollar, the Government had undertaken to provide local-dollar-priced fuel, which they were expected to access to sustain operations.

Mr Walla said with bakers being at the end of the value chain they could not easily determine what happens within the value chain, hence, any movement within the value chain affected them.

Commenting on the increase of the cost of flour, Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe chairman Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said the increase had been triggered by imported wheat prices on the world market which have also gone up.

“Flour went up by six percent. As you are aware we mix imported and local wheat, imported wheat prices went up on the world market, hence this is what necessitated the price increase of flour in the country,” said Mr Musarara.

He said local wheat millers were battling to survive due to the surge in imported wheat prices. Mr Musarara added that the high cost of capital coupled with the continuing decline of world wheat supplies exacerbated the problem.

Source: Sunday News