Zimbabwe’s bread price has increased by 18% to $45 from $38 previously charged by retailers, adding pressure to already pressed citizens grappling with poor earnings.
The price of bread has been continuously going up since last year, due to the harsh economic conditions which have been characterised by shortages of foreign currency, wheat, fuel and rising inflation. Resultantly, this has increased the cost of production.
Zimbabwe imports wheat to supplement the local cereal which alone does not make good bread. Bread manufactured by local bakers has 50% hard (imported) wheat. Statistics shows that Zimbabwe needs an estimated 400 000MT of wheat per year to meet its demand of about 950 000 loaves of bread per day.
The southern African nation has been facilitating the setting up of small scale bakeries across the country, offering affordable bread prices as the consumers has been victims of price increases. The move was aimed at restoring the purchasing power of all workers as all their income has been eroded by the rising inflation.
Meanwhile, Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers Association (CZRA) President Denford Mutashu said further consultations and dialogue on the basic food price moratorium with government is still ongoing.
This comes at a time when prices of basic commodities within local supermarkets continue to increase in defiance of a government, business organisations price moratorium on basic goods. Prices skyrocketed since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Under the moratorium, prices of basic food items such as maize meal, rice, cooking oil, sugar, salt, flour and bread were supposed to revert to the March 25 levels. The moratorium was announced by Vice President Kembo Mohadi who blamed the increases on “speculative practices”.
Mutashu said the price moratorium was a product of stakeholder engagement to promote responsible pricing and affordability. “It is hinged on continued availability of the circled key essentials on the market. Value chain support is critical to ensure the moratorium does not become another version of price control,” he said.
“CZRA can confirm that further consultations and dialogue on the matter with government is alive. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has initiated a number of consultative platforms with the private sector and it’s encouraging.” The moratorium was meant to cushion consumers against high prices of goods, most of which went up during the lockdown.