Desmond Munemo, H-Metro Reporter
Bakers Inn and Lobels, two of the biggest producers of bread in the country, have halted production following the shortage of flour, H-Metro has learnt.
Most outlets and supermarkets had empty bread shelves as of yesterday.
National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe president Dennis Wallah confirmed the development.
“Bread production is dwindling due to the unavailability of flour and bakeries are not able to supply in shops and supermarkets.
“Bread shortage is already taking place and this is not a deliberate move from the bread industry to create a shortage in order to increase prices.
“Remember, the price system has not been stable due to the market pressure, so I insist, the shortage is not about bakeries holding bread to find means to hike bread prices,” he said.
Wallah also dispelled social media speculation that they had proposed to hike wholesale bread price to RTGS$14 and retail price at RTGS $15.30.
“Production has not been halted to effect price increase but it is due to the unavailability of flour.
“We have engaged the Government, supplies and the Minister of Industry and Commerce are seized with the matter,” Wallah said.
Contacted for comment, Minister of Industry and Commerce Mangaliso Ndlovu confirmed the bread situation and allayed fears of bread shortages.
“I am aware of the situation and I can confirm everything is under control as we are working on it.
“It is not the issue of increasing bread prices, remember wheat is almost 100 percent imported so this situation involves foreign currency challenges along with delays in deliveries, but however, we are working on it to rectify the problem,” he said.
The president of the Grain Miller’s Association of Zimbabwe Tafadzwa Musarara said he is not in a position to comment on the issue as he was restricted by the Competition and Tariffs Commission.
However, he said:
“We wanted to control the situation and take charge of pricing our products but it did not happen.
“Things could have been better and we wanted to stabilise mealie, flour and bread prices, now look what is happening.”