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Bread Price Up 30% - But Zimbabweans Line Up to Buy

Despite a 30% rise in the price of bread, residents of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, are still lining up to purchase a loaf for Z$70,000, about 50 U.S. cents.

Unhappy consumers, many of them working mothers with children in school, say they have no choice with maize meal, the national staple, in even shorter supply.

Bulawayo bakers, meanwhile, warn that a government order to them to cut prices will only further tighten bread supplies, as Netsai Mlilo reported from Bulawayo.

Recent steep rises in food and transport prices could be followed by more increases given consumer inflation that ran at an annual 600% rate in January, analysts say.

Economist Intelligence Unit Senior Economist David Cowan says food prices are likely to keep rising beyond the reach of many ordinary Zimbabweans and that the portion of the population needing food assistance - some 4 million today - could surge.

Cowan told reporter Chinedu Offor of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that families should brace themselves for even worse conditions to come.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...