by Grace Chekai
A contact within the National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe (NBAZ) has revealed that bakers are bemoaning the depressed demand for bread, Harare Post has learnt.
The contact said the demand for bread which has been consistently going down since October 2018, was now threatening the viability of the industry.
“Fear is swelling within the baking industry following the massive decline in the demand for bread. The baking industry has an installed capacity of two million loaves of bread per day, but we are struggling to sell 800 000 loaves per day, which is very worrisome.
“This means that this a fifty percent drop from the 1.6 million of loaves we used to push in the market before October 2018,” revealed the contact who is a baker.
The contact revealed that since October 2018, bakers were now operating at an average capacity of plus or minus forty percent.
“The decrease in the demand for bread is attributed to an equally depressed disposal income due to economic challenges coupled with the recent COVID-19-induced challenges,” said the contact.
However, the contact dismissed reports on social media that the price of bread is expected to increase by fifty percent. Bread is currently selling at between ZW$55 to ZW$68 depending on the retailer.
He said that social media was attributing the expected increase of bread to the recent increase of wheat producer price. He added that the increase in wheat producer price had no effect on their production cost because the bakery industry was getting their flour from private importers at a price lower than that pegged by GMB.
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) recently increased wheat producer price to between ZW$43 778.84 and ZW$52 534.61 per metric tonne (MT) with effect from 10 September 2020.
Contact revealed that the landing price of wheat from South Africa (S.A) was US$400/MT. He therefore reasoned that millers might shun local wheat because of the high prices.