GMAZ allays bread hike fears

by Rungano Dzikira

As prices of basic commodities continue escalating, consumers have allayed fears over possible bread hike following insinuations by bread producers of their intentions to hike the price of a loaf of bread to $4 per loaf.

Responding to this proposition, the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) dismissed this plea as outrageous adding that the current ‘shortages’ and rationing to one loaf per individual by supermarkets is being prompted by producers who are prioritising cash paying retailers, hence limiting and prompting the artificial shortages.

“Bread manufacturers are preferring cash purchases as this makes it easy for them to later on exchange it for foreign currency on the parallel market,” said GAMZ chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara.

“As much as we appreciate that there are many variables to consider in the production of bread, depleted wheat supplies has been the main issue affecting pricing, and as of now we have received enough to cushion the country for the coming month.

Chances of a hike were therefore said to be very slim and would not get to such prices. Only last week Zimbabwe took delivery of 3 000 tonnes.

“We actually expect an increase in the production of bread. All companies which had suspended operations i.e. Victoria Foods, Unifoods, Wheat Star, Power Foods, Falcon Foods and Oriental Milling have since resumed production, and more wheat imports are expected to trickle in to complement what local winter-wheat deliveries,” he added.

Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, on the other hand has warned retailers intending to benefit from exploiting vulnerable consumers by unjustified hikes, premised on the current prevailing conditions.