March 12, 2020

Bakers mourn over poor water, causing bread prices to rise

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Takudzwa Chihambakwe

The price of bread recently shot up by close to 14% with consumers now getting a loaf for $24 up from $21. This comes barely a month after another increase by the bakers who were saying an increase in production costs has caused the increments.

Whilst presenting oral evidence in Parliament on Thursday, as to why the prices increased as well as challenges they are facing, the bakers gave a number of reasons including poor water quality.

“The quality of water we get from council is very poor. We cannot use it to produce bread. Hence we have to outsource thereby increasing the prices of the end products, one of them being bread,” said Chief Finance Officer for Proton, Kelvin Mutenda.

Besides the water challenge, Mutenda also appealed to Parliament to assist them in seeing that export retentions are revised.

“We have the capacity to export to different countries in the region. However, the situation obtaining now does not allow us to export and get foreign currency which can be used to subsidise other products.

“An example is when one is exporting confectionaries, they can get up to US$10000 but they can only access US$5000. The rest is then converted at the interbank rate. This makes it difficult to run operations,” he shared.

The bakers also said that they were struggling to maintain low bread prices for consumers because of fuel and electricity challenges.

“As a sector, we did not stop production when the power challenges started. We invested in generators. These generators need fuel which is quite costly. All these factors are driving the cost of bread up for the final consumer,” highlighted Baker’s Inn chief executive officer, Ngoni Mazango

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