By Staff Reporter
GOVERNMENT says it is in the process of engaging a baker who will produce a standard loaf of bread with 100 percent of locally produced ingredients.
This comes as bread shortages persist in the country while hard-pressed local bread makers have demanded autonomy in the pricing of the staple food.
Addressing a post-cabinet media briefing Tuesday, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said persistent bread shortages on the market, coupled with price increase pressures brought by continued reliance on imported wheat.
“In the context of the Buy Zimbabwe Campaign, it has proved by one entrepreneur that local wheat can produce bread at a cheaper price without the need of importation of ingredients,” she said.
“In light of this information, cabinet will consider various option to ensure that consumers throughout the country obtain bread at affordable and viable prices.”
A loaf of bread costs between RTGS $1.80 and $2.50 depending on where one is buying the product.
Also commenting on the development, Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said he was able to convince his cabinet colleagues to look at other ways of producing a cheaper loaf of bread using local wheat only.
“Reasons that we are having bread shortages is that millers are indicating that we cannot have our bread using wheat only. So, I was able to demonstrate today (Tuesday) that we do have millers and bakeries who are using 100% local wheat and we have decent bread,” Ndlovu said.
“We want to encourage the usage of local wheat under our Buy Zimbabwe programme.
“In terms of whether or not we are changing the wheat we are growing, we will continue to grow our local wheat and there will be experimental studies to see if there are other variations to the wheat that we are growing.
“We are not saying we will no longer be accepting wheat that is being imported for variations. Those who want to import will be able to do that.”
Ndlovu said the unnamed local baker will be able to supply wheat at affordable prices, adding, “This is quite critical when you look at availability of bread to our people”.
Last week, millers said the country was left with a week’s supply of flour stocks owing to recurrent forex shortages to import the necessary ingredient.