The Bakers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has appealed to the government for help to liquidate a legacy debt for forex payments to foreign suppliers that now stands at over US$3.1 million, with the sector currently operating 35 per cent below capacity.
The appeal was made when BAZ president, Dennis Wata, vice presidents Lucky Zinyama and Nyasha Maringazuva Mhizha and former president Ngoni Mazango appeared before the Senate Thematic Committee on Peace and Security, which was chaired by Charles Moyo, last week. Said Mazango:
We are appealing to the Government to help in liquidating the legacy debt so we can unlock supply from outside the country. The list of our raw materials that require foreign currency is endless. We require machinery and spares. Most of our members are using old equipment.
As a country, we should not be importing wheat. We should be capacitating farmers so they are able to grow the required wheat. Every year we need about 450 000 tonnes of wheat.
Bakers, however, dismissed claims that they collude to set prices of bread, putting the product beyond the reach of many.
They said they were not in control of retail prices as these were determined by retailers.