Baking industry conference

Bakers Inn Bakery in Zimbabwe

Bakers Inn Bakery in Zimbabwe

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BUYZIMBABWE, a local lobby group promoting the consumption of locally produced goods, will this month host the second Baking Industry Stakeholders’ Conference in Harare aimed at improving business linkages for a viable and competitive industry.

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The conference is scheduled for March 26 in Harare.

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Stakeholders such as wheat farmers, millers, bakeries, suppliers, policy makers and service providers are expected to attend.

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Industry and Commerce Minister Mr Mike Bimha is billed to officiate with speakers drawn from various players in the bakery industry value chain that include the wheat farmers, millers, bakers and suppliers of other baking ingredients.

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Buy Zimbabwe said last week the bakery industry plays a key role in the economy, contributing 2,5 percent of GDP, yet the sector lacks well coordinated business linkages and is affected by mistrust between bakeries and input suppliers.

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Like other sub-sectors in the local manufacturing industry in an illiquid economy, the baking industry is also facing a serious cash squeeze.

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“Despite the nascent growth, the bakery industry and its feeder sectors like farming and milling industry are faced with a myriad of challenges.

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“Regrettably, if these challenges stay unchecked, bakeries will either close or opt to import their supplies. Such a scenario will only push the economy deep down the mucky waters and will likely affect players along the value chain,” said Buy Zimbabwe.

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The bakery industry employs 3 500 people and has downstream value chain effects that accrue to farmers, yeast and fat producers, millers, and the government through fiscal revenues.

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The sector has a potential to spur industry and agriculture growth, employment creation and consumer satisfaction.

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At its peak, the bakery industry employed over 6 000 people, and utilised over 400 000 tons of wheat supporting local farming and local milling.

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In 2014, bread output grew by over 20 percent mainly driven by capacity revamping and expansion of local bakeries.

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Local millers supply over 80 percent of the flour requirements.