The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) Wednesday increased the price of wheat by 30% in a development that could trigger a hike in bread prices.
Industry officials yesterday told NewsDay Zimbabwe that GMB increased wheat prices from $239 000 to $310 000 per tonne in local currency, or US$680 at the interbank rate.
National Bakers’ Association of Zimbabwe president Dennis Walla said players in the sector would be forced to also increase the bread price to cover operational costs. He told NewsDay:
Wheat is a major component in the baking of bread. So when GMB increases the price, it affects the pricing of bread,” he said in an interview.
Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe corporate affairs manager Andrew Kunambura said they were trying to negotiate with GMB over the latest wheat price increase. He said:
I can confirm that there are price increases, but there are negotiations to try and find a way of preventing further increases in the bread value chain.
A loaf of bread is currently pegged at $790 or US$1.75 using the interbank rate in some retail shops. In some shops, bread is being sold for US$1 plus $150 to $300.
Reports indicate that GMB has also increased the producer price of maize and traditional grains from $75 000 to $100 000, but maintained the price of US$90.
The producer price of a tonne of soya beans is now $228 666 up from $171 495 but is unchanged at US$90 in foreign currency.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said the looming bread price increase was a sad development for the country’s workforce, already grappling with the rising cost of living while salaries remain stagnant.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary-general Japhet Moyo said the increase in wheat price “automatically affects the majority of people” as families might not be able to get the food that they always depend on.
He bemoaned the deadlock between employers and employees over salary increments.