By Staff Reporter
Mutare: The high cost of bread in the country, coupled with recurrent shortages, has forced locals to resort to farm produce as substitute for the staple food.
A standard loaf of bread now costs between RTGS$2 and $2.50, up from $1.40 just a few weeks ago.
However, the price increase has come as a blessing in disguise for local vendors who are now enjoying brisk business as hard-pressed locals are now resorting to fresh farm produce such as sweet potatoes, madhumbe, magogoya, yams, cassava and pumpkins as substitute.
“I realised a boon in my business since the price of bread shot up. People are now opting for our produce because the prices are reasonable,” said Tendai Maanda, who sells cassava and sweet potatoes, adding, “I am realising $100 every day from sales.”
Another vendor, Clarrisa Ngwena (34), who is from Honde Valley, said her customers have multiplied and she was now selling close to six 20 litre buckets of cassava daily and realising an average of RTGS $120 at the end of each day’s business.
“…We are happy that the local community has realised that there is substitute for bread.
“Our produce is in fact, recommended by health experts,” she said, adding, “My income has increased and I can now afford to pay fees for my children and invest back into my business.”
A local pensioner, Peter Makaya (60), said the price of bread has gone beyond the reach of many and they have reverted to traditional foodstuff.
“Our payouts are too meagre and we can’t afford bread on a daily basis. We have to supplement with farm produce. Our economy is not performing well and our savings have been eroded,” said Makaya while buying a pocket of sweet potatoes.
Others told this publication that they have no option but to resort to cheap commodities to keep body and soul together.
“We like bread but we don’t have an option but to resort to farm produce to feed our families. Life has become so unbearable and we have to eat what is there or we starve to death,” said Locadia Manatsa of Sakubva township.
Government says it is in the process of engaging a local baker who will produce a standard loaf of bread with 100 percent locally produced ingredients.
This comes as bread shortage persists in the country while hard pressed local bakers have demanded autonomy in the pricing of the staple food.