THE price of bread has gone up by 30 percent to $352 from $270, a development that further erodes the disposable income of consumers.
National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe president Mr Dennis Wallah attributed the latest bread hikes to an upward spiralling of cost drivers such as fuel and bread flour.
“I am sure you are aware that in terms of the value chain system, the baking industry is at the end of the value chain. So, when anything happens along the value chain, it affects us in terms of pricing. For example, the Zimdollar fuel is non-existent on the market and that impacts us.
“Last week, there was a Press statement by the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ), and you know that flour is a major component in the baking industry, so that statement affects us,” he said.
“May I hasten to say that the association does not prescribe retail prices, though they get their product from the same suppliers.”
Last week, GMAZ announced a 52 percent and 31 percent increase for mealie meal and flour respectively saying this was informed by an upward review by the Grain Marketing Board, rising costs in fuel and packaging.
Effectively, this has seen a tonne of flour increasing to $ 215 000 from $164 523.
Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Raj Modi is on record saying the Russia-Ukraine war has seen a rise in global fuel prices, a situation that impacts on production.
A snap survey carried out by The Herald Finance and Business in Harare’s Central Business yesterday indicated that major retailers had increased the price of bread with most of the supermarkets selling above the recommended retail price by Lobel’s Bread.
According to a price guide from Lobel’s seen by this paper, the retail price for prime white loaf was pegged at $341 or US$2,27.
But OK Zimbabwe situated at corner Nelson Mandela Ave/First Street was selling a loaf of bread from Lobels at $351,99, Proton ($351) while the outlet did not have stocks from Bakers Inn.
At Pick n Pay situated at corner Jason Moyo Ave/Sam Nujoma a loaf from Lobels was being sold at $344, Bakers Inn ($273,99) while stocks from Proton were not available.
At Food World along Jason Moyo Ave, the price of bread was pegged at $347 for Lobels and Bakers Inn while that from Proton was selling at $273.
“We have increased the price of bread with effect from today. We don’t have Bakers Inn stocks, (but) tomorrow it will be available under a new price,” said a till operator at the outlet preferring not to be named citing professional reasons.
Choppies supermarket situated along Nelson Mandela Avenue was selling Lobels bread at $350, Proton ($275) while that from Bakers Inn was not available. Another till operator at Choppies echoed similar sentiments.
National Consumer Rights Association spokesperson Mr Effie Ncube said it is high time the Government stepped in to cushion consumers who cannot afford bread at this price.
“Given the (conflict) in Ukraine and the declining purchasing power of the Zimbabwean currency, it is likely that we are going to see more hikes in the price of bread and flour.
“This is a development the country cannot afford to accommodate. Bread is critical for the food and nutritional security of households,” he said.
“At $270 bread was already too expensive for the majority of households. This hike will further erode the disposable incomes of consumers and drive more and more people into food poverty and lead to nutritional insecurity.
“If not contained, this may also have a negative domino effect on the prices of other basic commodities, leading to hikes in prices.”
According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) monthly price review for March, the cost of living for a family of six spiked by 17,9 percent to $93 000 for basics.
In his Independence speech at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo on Monday, President Mnangagwa said the Government had come up with a comprehensive plan for the upcoming winter wheat farming season with a view to boosting output and reducing imports.
In the upcoming winter wheat cropping season, the Government targets to increase the hectarage under wheat to 75 000 hectares with an estimated yield of 383 500 tonnes making the country self-sufficient.
The targeted hectarage will be sponsored by CBZ Agro-Yield, AFC Land Bank and the private sector.
Over the years, Zimbabwe, whose national requirement is 360 000 tonnes of wheat annually, has been relying on imports to cover the deficit, mainly from countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Argentina and Brazil.
Article Source: The Chronicle