BY Staff Reporter
The government has tightened its monitoring mechanisms on subsidised bread-making flour to millers and bakers to avoid unjustified bread price increases.
This comes after several reports of some “bakers” abusing the subsidised commodity to make biscuits, cakes, and other confectionaries at the expense of bread.
The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe, an apex body for local millers which is charged with milling wheat and maize grain confirmed that government was closely monitoring the use of subsidized wheat meant for bread flour.
“We (millers) are currently enjoying a subsidy of $2 300 per tonne of wheat to be exclusively dedicated for bread flour only,” GMAZ spokesperson Garikai Chaunza confirmed.
“This is meant to stabilise and contain bread prices for the benefit of the consumers who are the financiers of the subsidy and it is our obligation that the flour must go to all bakeries, big and small who are into genuine bread baking and as an association we have always been on guard.”
Chaunza said flour for biscuits and other non-bread products is available at a non-subsidised price.
There are reports that there are known confectionary baking bakeries who are accessing subsidised bread-making flour, creating an artificial shortage of bread and at the same time resulting in the price hikes of the commodity. Bread prices have gone up from $6 to $9.
But National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe president Dennis Wallah denied the allegations that they were creating artificial shortages so that they can be justified to hike bread prices.
“There are still challenges in terms of accessing bread flour. Find out with millers if they have flour enough for everyone. Kindly come and check our silos and see if we have enough flour stocks,” he said.
Wallah said even if the government would monitor the subsidised wheat flour, bread prices were still going up as it was being necessitated by other factors as the economy is struggling.
“Of course, there are other factors necessitating bread price hikes. Look at fuel; it is going up almost on a weekly basis. We have electricity challenges so if bakers are running for 14 hours on generators do you think bread prices will remain low? Right now we also have water crises. Also we have raw materials that we import and getting foreign currency is now very difficult,” he said