Hong Kong, Oct. 26 – Zambian leader Michael Sata has opposed intentions by the country’s bakers to increase the price of bread by K500 (US$0.10).
President Sata said Wednesday plans to hike the price of bread by K500 (1ct) were unjustified.
“The plans to increase the price of bread will largely hurt the poor. The poor consumer bears the blunt of such hikes which are not justified. Government will do everything possible to curb exploitation and maintain the price of bread, even if it means authorizing the importation of wheat into the country,” President Sata.
“We, therefore urge all stakeholders in the wheat value chain to exhaust consultations among themselves before taking positions that could undermine consumer interest and that of the industry itself in the long-run.”
He said government would not be blackmailed by any stakeholder in the food chain of essential commodities.
The Zambian Government is currently in dialogue with the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) and the Bakers Association of Zambia regarding measures meant to eliminate unnecessary cost elements so that the wheat industry becomes more competitive.
President Sata said he expected the bakers association and wheat farmers to reach a reasonable consensus that did not only serve their interests but the consumers.
He has since instructed his Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Emmanuel Chenda, to meet all stakeholders in the wheat industry.
Bread and rice are not regarded as a priority by many low and medium class Zambians who highly depend on corn meal dough as major staple food.
Bakers in Zambia have expressed intentions to increase the price of bread, citing increasing cost of wheat on the international market.