THE country’s bakers are struggling to meet the daily bread demand of 1,8 million loaves due to a variety of reasons.
The National Bakers’ Association of Zimbabwe president Givemore Mesoemvura told Southern Eye Business that they were currently producing about one million loaves a day.
“We are concerned about the issue of flour input,” he said.
“The government in the 2015 national budget allowed us to import 5 000 metric tonnes of flour input per month, but the statutory instrument came differently indicating we are eligible to import only 2 088 metric tonnes per month.
“We are facing challenges such as lack of funding to retool and to reduce inefficiencies and also reintroduce supply depots countrywide. We need funds from banks. Currently we are producing plus or minus one million loaves of bread a day, but our target is 1,8 million,” he said.
Mesoemvura said they were not happy with the current $1 price of bread arguing that it was not viable due to escalating operating costs, particularly of locally-sourced raw materials.
He also said the collapse of the National Railways of Zimbabwe had escalated bakers’ operating costs as they were forced to use road instead of rail.
Bakers import 50% of non-flour ingredients such as cake inputs and fats, among others.
He said these inputs were either too expensive to procure locally or not available.
Apart from the costs, Mesoemvura said most players in the baking industry were facing problems of local flour and yeast quality.
In March 2014, Innscor, a leader in the baking industry through its Bakers Inn chain, announced that it was scaling down bakeries’ network due to depressed demand, among other challenges.
Zimbabwe currently has more than 257 operational bakers with Lobel’s and Bakers’ Inn being the biggest two.