Amidst the prevailing economic distress which has been exarcebated by volatile foreign currency exchange rates on both the official and parallel markets, local bakers have increased the price of bread by about 17 percent from $18 to $22.
The increase in bread prices is understood to have come into effect last weekend.
The National Bakers’ Association of Zimbabwe (NBAZ) has attributed the dramatic price hike to increased production costs and challenges regarding the flour subsidy.
“The price of bread has been stable from November to date. We don’t have subsidised flour available hence the market forces are now at play,” said NBAZ President Dennis Wallah.
Wallar also said, due to the fact that Zimbabwe imports most of the raw materials used in the production of bread, erratic changes in foreign currency exchange rates, this has pushed bakers to adjust the prices of bread.
Effie Ncube the Consumer Rights Association spokesperson, said the latest increase will result in ordinary citizens failing to afford bread in their households.
“We get concerned when families cannot afford basics such as bread as this means these families are now food insecure,” he said.
Ncube also advocated for stakeholder dialogue involving Government, labour and the consumers in the pursuit of mapping the way forward.
“When you look at the price of bread across bakers, it goes up almost at the same time and by the same margin. That is a violation of the laws of the country, the Competitions Act is very clear, you cannot collude to fix a price,” he said.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe regional manager for Matabeleland, Comfort Muchekeza also shared Ncube’s sentiments, saying:
“Increasing the price of bread by $3 while many consumers are failing to buy it at $15 is a sad development. The few that were still buying bread will join the rest that stopped buying bread a long time ago,” Muchekeza remarked.
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