Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter
National bread production went down 10 percent to 900 000 loaves per day in the quarter to September from about one million loaves as consumers continue to have subdued disposable incomes while most bakeries continue to use antiquated equipment, an industry official told The Herald Business.
Bread production for half year to June increased 150 percent to about one million loaves per day from 400 000 loves produced in the past three years but the volumes have since gone down.
In an interview yesterday, National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe president Mr Givemore Mesoemvura said lack of disposable income on customers is having an impact on bread production in the country.
“We witnessed a huge increase in bread production for the past three years but due to the liquidity crunch, we are beginning to see a drop in production volumes.
“I am not saying people cannot afford to buy bread anymore but some companies continue to use antiquated equipment and this has hugely affected production.
“The production figures of late have been hovering around one million loaves per day but the volumes have slightly declined due to subdued demand,” said Mr Mesoemvura.
The bakery industry requires about $300 million that will go towards replacing obsolete equipment in the industry with new and sophisticated technology to improve capacity.
Zimbabwe has about 275 bakeries while about 100 have since closed shop due to working capital constraints and the need for urgent retooling.
About 90 percent of the industry requires retooling and some bakery companies have failed to access the DIMAF funding because of the conditions that were put on the table.
He said according to consumption, Zimbabweans are not eating as much bread as they should considering that the country has a population of 13,6 million.
The country’s bakery industry is operating at about 60 percent of its installed capacity of 1,8 million loaves a day.
Zimbabwe is at a period when production in the bakery industry is low as the liquidity crunch is beginning to take effect on consumers.
“Bakers cannot do much about production increase because it’s a national thing and the economy is not performing well,” said Mr Mesoemvura.