Bread Situation Remain Precarious

Zimbabweans might as well wait a little longer before bread availability is restored on the market as talks between millers, bakers and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) are yet to proffer a permanent fix to the current stalemate, 263Chat Business has established.

Bread supply on the market plummeted drastically starting last week as wheat stocks receded while the much needed foreign reserves to replenish stocks remain scarce.

By Monday morning millers were still in an ambiguous mode as at when the situation will normalize citing prolonged talks with Central Bank and bakers.

“Wheat stocks have drastically declined and we are in communication with the Reserve of Zimbabwe to unlock wheat consignments which are in Beira and Harare. We are also constantly updating our key stakeholders who include bakers on the obtaining situation,”

“We are also jointly working with the bakers in engaging the authorities on a number of issues that would improve bread supplies,” Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe spokesperson Garikai Chaunza said.

Last Thursday, GMAZ vice-chair Masimba Dzomba stated that the country’s wheat stocks will  only be enough for one month, as suppliers were holding on to the commodity until payments were met.

This is despite earlier suggestions by Mr Chaunza in an interview with this publication that allayed fears of depleting wheat stocks and went on to issue a statement earlier today retracting Dzomba’s pronouncements that the country was left with one month supply of stocks.

“We regret to advise that he (Mr Dzomba) did not have the latest update on the matter,” read the statement.

However, the statement has attracted widespread skepticism over the state of affairs with regards to current levels of wheat stocks.

The country has been experiencing challenges in payment of essential products since late last year and a permanent fix is yet to be reached at.

Zimbabwe needs at least 450 000 tonnes of wheat per annum but owing to a low agricultural yield, the country has assumed the role of a net importer of the commodity.

The situation has been exacerbated by weak foreign reserves to cover for imports.

Market watchers foresee a prolonged bread shortage on the market bemoaning the current over-reliance on the Central Bank for foreign currency allocation.

The development has culminated in the sprawling of overnight bakeries in Harare producing substandard bread that is being sold at $ 4.50 against retail recommended price of $ 3.50 per loaf.