GMAZ, National Foods fingered in bread shortage

By Tendai Matunhu

The shortage of bread, currently emerging is due to monopolised value chain by Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) which is allegedly hoarding wheat in order to arm-twist Government to accept their favourable wheat price, senior officials within the bakery industry have alleged.

An official working for Lobels Private Limited who preferred anonymity, said the company had already stopped bread production because of the inconsistency in the supply of wheat. He urged the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe to look into the issue.

He went on to say that their company was working at 50% production capacity, baking 60 000 loaves a day using 30tonnes of flour per day. He said Lobels had down-graded because of decreased demand for bread due to its high price.

 He further highlighted that Lobels was making arrangements with ZESA for them to secure a dedicated power line under the foreign currency tariff scheme.

 In a separate interview, a Bakers Inn official who preferred anonymity for professional reasons revealed that the bread company had since stopped production of bread due to flour shortages. The official revealed that 300 Bakers Inn workers were forced to go on an indefinite paid leave.

He castigated the involvement of GMAZ President, Tafadzwa Musarara in the procurement of wheat saying he plays a role in the artificial shortage of wheat and price distortion of maize meal. He went on to say that Musarara should not be part of the team that procures wheat.

The Bakers Inn official alleged that there was connivance between Bakers Inn and the National Foods to arm-twist Government to agree with the wheat price of their choice.

He said Bakers Inn had a monthly supply of flour, thus stopping production is a calculated move to force Government to accept their demand.

Speaking to this publication, some economic analysts encouraged Government to consider taking up Zanu PF’s idea of establishing village bakeries, saying this would cushion citizens against hardships induced by such sabotages.