While leading bakery Bakers Inn is not spared from the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, says it is working flat out to ensure that bread is affordable to everyone.
The country’s loaf of bread now costs US$2, a 100% increase since Russia invaded Ukraine. On the other hand, the increase in US dollars fuel prices have activated the latest rally in the cost of producing bread.
Bakers Inn chief operating officer Benjamin Mavros told ETimes that suppliers have become more difficult to access and as a result of that the price of wheat has gone up.
“As a company it is our policy that we are doing whatever we can to ensure that we maintain cheap affordable loaves to the people that is a mandate to us,” he said.
Wheat constitutes 30-42% of the cost of bread.
“So although wheat is affecting us we are taking all measures necessary to make sure we keep that price as low as possible.”
Zimbabwe is one the biggest net importer of Russian wheat in the East and Southern African region. Previously wheat landing prices had surged from US$475 to US$675, cautioning that the upward trend was anticipated to continue on the back of the disturbances in East Europe.
“We do not import wheat directly, so the millers (Manyame Milling, National Foods, Blue Ribbon) are the ones who import the product,” said Mavros.
The country has been managing to ensure sufficient supply of bread nationwide through a number of locally made initiatives.
“They also use local wheat but because of the type of wheat that we use in bread we require imported wheat because our wheat that we grow in Zimbabwe does not have the right protein content.
Statistics show that the southern African nation needs an estimated 400 000MT of wheat per year to meet its demand.
Baker’s Inn is part of Innscor Africa Limited, which is one of the largest listed companies in Zimbabwe. Through its various operations, Baker’s Inn produces 450 000 loaves daily and distributes their products country wide.
Depending on the availability of wheat supplies, the company plans to grow this already impressive production figure to 1 million loaves produced daily in the near future.
“So ourselves as well as other bakers we are looking to invest, increasing the production such that we can make bread more readily available for our people,” he added.
The country is consuming 16 000 metric tonnes of bread flour monthly and about 1.2 million loaves a day, according to the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe.
Also the industry is increasingly coming under pressure to adjust its prices owing to the rising inflation and the persistent forex challenges, which are forcing some companies to source forex from the black market, whose premium is in turn passed on to the consumer – Harare