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Despite Harare's Pricing Concession, Bakers Face Continued Cost Crunch

Though the Zimbabwean government authorized what was described as a temporary increase in the price of bread from Z$200 to Z$295 a loaf, bakers say that the new price still fall short of what is needed to make their business economically viable.

What the new official price of bread should be is under consideration by the newly formed Interim Administrative Price Stabiliation Mechanism Committee

The government last week said it was importing 30,400 tonnes of wheat, sufficient to supply the country for more than two months. But millers said they have not yet seen any sign of the imported wheat, which could take several weeks to arrive.

An official with Blue Ribbon Foods, a miller, said the firm’s granaries are empty.

Zimbabwe's winter wheat harvest is under way, but the Grain Marketing Board said it is not sure what kind of a harvest can be expected, given the severe problems in the agricultural sector. The country's annual requirement for wheat is 400,000 tonnes.

Manager Luckmore Zinyama of Harambe Holdings, which owns Mitchells bread, told Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the price concession to bakers is not sufficient to allow them to break even on their outlay for ingredients.

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