ZAMBIA – The Bakers Association of Zambia (BAZ) has revealed that bread prices are expected to go up by about 7% due to baking ingredients and flour prices which have gone up from k900 (US$37) to k960 (US$39).

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Zambian Business Times – ZBT, BAZ Chairperson Aziz Kapdi confirmed that flour prices which is the main ingredient have now gone up following the high cost of doing business which is threatening the prices of the final product.

According to him, the cost of flour and all the major ingredients like yeast, salt, and plastics have gone up.

Kapdi lamented that bakeries are now being forced to sell bread to please and attract customers and not to make a profit for fear of losing customers.

He said whenever bakeries decide to increase the price of bread to meet the cost of flour and baking ingredients, the customer turnout decreases.

He revealed that bread is selling at k13 (US$0.5) when a loaf should be k20 (US$0.8) that’s when some bakeries will manage to make a profit and replace their equipment over time.

The country has been grappling with the wheat shortage despite efforts to boost local production.

This year, the Zambian government confirmed a significant deficit in wheat production for the 2022/2023 Agro season, necessitating the need to import wheat at a staggering cost of US$70 million.

According to the crop focus survey report announced by Agro Minister Mtolo Phiri in June, Zambia has again failed to locally grow enough to meet the country’s needs and recorded a wheat production deficit of about 110,000 tons.

Kapdi is appealing to the government to consider subsidizing or introducing a price ceiling on wheat flour.

We are asking the government if they can put some subsidies in the bakery industry or have a standard price for flour just as they have done for mealie meal because we don’t know which direction to go at the moment.

In a significant effort to address the soaring prices of mealie meal, last month, the government of Zambia, through Zambia Correctional Service (ZCS), launched the distribution of Kalonga mealie meal to fulfill the government’s commitment to provide affordable essential commodities.

The initiative is a partnership between the government and two milling companies: Kalonga Milling and Dariyaye Milling Company. 

Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister Jack Mwiimbu, present at the event, conveyed the government’s determination to alleviate the financial burden on citizens by mitigating the escalating cost of mealie meal.

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