Govt finds bread formula
Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
Government has started breaking the monopoly in the bread industry through resuscitation of indigenous bakeries which use locally produced wheat across the country, a development that will result in cheap bread on the market.
The country is also going to save about US$20 million monthly in wheat imports which will be channelled to other vital sectors of the economy.
The development comes after President Mnangagwa in his Independence Day speech said the Government was committed to address price distortions in all sectors of the economy.
He said one of the ways of doing so was opening of small-scale bakeries. Such bakeries will service their localities resulting in low costs of transport, among others, to ensure that the price of bread is affordable.
Addressing captains of industry, Government officials and Gweru residents during the official commissioning of DCK maize milling plant and bakery here last week, Industry and Commerce Minister, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu said the resuscitation of small-scale bakeries could break the monopoly which has seen a few players dominating the bread industry leading to the exploitation of consumers.
He said DCK had even shown that it was possible to produce quality bread with local wheat a development that is expected to cut on wheat import bill.
“To DCK, I want to commend you for demonstrating that where there is a will, there is a way. All along we were being told that local wheat doesn’t produce good quality bread but you have shown us that it is possible.
This means if we open a lot of these bakeries in our communities, we can be able to reduce the US$20million needed to import wheat every month,” he said.
“We all know that currently, the milling and baking industry are dominated by big companies. The entry of other players like DCK will therefore serve to break the existing monopoly with resultant benefits accruing to the consumer.”
Minister Ndlovu said the two DCK investments dovetail with the new thinking in Government of establishing such ventures in the community so that products are near the customer and also as a way to cut down on transport costs as well as generating employment for locals.
He said the Government was seized with the economic challenges being faced by the people like the rise in prizes of basic commodities saying solutions were on their way.
Addressing the same event, Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs-Larry Mavima said Zimbabweans should work together for socio- economic development of the country.
“Government cannot go it alone and therefore the call for every patriotic Zimbabwean to come on board in any way that can create employment or cheap product for our people. DCK is commended for entering this sector which had for long been a preserve for big companies and we hope it will result in the breaking of the monopoly in this industry.
“President Mnangagwa has said there is need to open small bakeries in all communities so that cheap break is availed to the economy, “he said
Minister Mavima said there is needed to support entrepreneurs like DCK where a loaf of bread costs ZWL $2,50.
“When we have cheap bread at DCK, why then should we be held at ransom and purchase bread at ZWL$3,50. It doesn’t make sense,” he said.
“Here we have DCK maize milling plant and bakery commissioning which is a welcome development for our province and country at large,” he said.
DCK managing director Mr Douglas Kwande said his company had one aim of availing affordable products which include bread and mealie-meal on the market.
“Bread and mealie meal should be cheap and should be found on time every time. As an entrepreneur and my job is to solve problems. In this case we are now producing over 27 000 loaves of bread every day and plans are underway to open new bakery in Kwekwe in the coming month,” he said.
Mr Kwande said Zimbabweans must assist the Government in contributing to socio-economic development of the country.
“As Zimbabweans we can do it. It’s high time we do away with looking for external people to solve our problems,” he said.