Bakers say they have been forced to increase the price of bread due to a five-fold rise in input costs.
The price of bread rose marginally to $1,40 from $1,10 last week, after government committed to avail to the bakery industry at least 80 percent of its monthly foreign currency requirements from a current maximum of 35 percent allocation.
Industry and Commerce minister Mangaliso Ndlovu approved the increase, which came amid remonstrations by the Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (Gmaz) that said it was impossible to attribute any bread prices to flour, which is the main ingredient.
Gmaz head Tafadzwa Musarara had said support by government to millers through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had ensured prices remained stable.
“The current wheat bakers flour prices to bakers is indexed on 1:1 on the USD to bond.
“This has been possible due to the nostro payment support we receive from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, to which we are most grateful,” Musarara said.
“We urge our colleagues in the baking industry to observe standing consultations and notifications protocols should there be need to increase bread prices in the future.”
National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe (NBAZ) said yesterday its industry has not been spared from the unprecedented price increases on key raw materials and other operational costs.
“Despite respective members’ internal cost reductions and improved operational efficiencies, the magnitude of the cost pressures has made it impossible for the bakery industry to remain viable given the current challenges,” NBAZ said in a statement yesterday.
“The imported inputs in the bread manufacturing and distribution processes recorded the highest increases, at times exceeding 500 percent.
“Among other imported items which have increased drastically are, enzymes, baking fats , improvers , gluten, calcium, kwiklocks, premix and spare parts for the factories and distribution vehicles.
It said it recognises that bread has become the most affordable staple food for Zimbabweans in the current difficult economic conditions, and has made every effort to keep the bread price affordable.
“We therefore notify the public that the price of a standard loaf should not exceed $1.30 and $1.40 to the wholesale and consumers respectively, flour being at a maximum price of $36,50 per 50kg bag,” the bakers said.