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concerned with the state of affairs in the baking industry
of Zimbabwe (CCZ)
January 31, 2007
It has been almost
two months since the gazetting of the official price of bread and
the bakers through the Bakers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) are
lobbying for a review of the price to at least $1 500.00 for a standard
loaf. BAZ has proffered many reasons in justification of the increases,
with inflation chief among them, saying that it (inflation) had
caused unprecedented increases in the cost of production inputs.
CCZ is however greatly concerned with the state of affairs in the
Based on the numerous
concerns raised by consumers on the standard and quality of bread,
CCZ felt it important to launch an investigation to get to the bottom
of these complaints. To this end, a joint operation was launched
by CCZ together with the Trade Measures Department in the Ministry
of Industry and International Trade, and startling results of under-weight
bread were found. All major players in the baking industry were
visited and their bread sampled for compliance in terms of the prescribed
weight (700g). While the law gives a tolerance of +10% (+70g) and
-5% (-35g) for each loaf, the average loaf, the average weight of
a loaf found during this exercise was 430g. These results as shown
in tables and graph attached show that bakers are all in contravention
of provisions in Trade Measures (Sale of Articles) Regulations relating
to the weight of bread, thus not playing fair with the consumer.
It is unfortunate
that, while the Bakers Association of Zimbabwe is seeking approval
for a price adjustment, the members are already marketing and selling
overpriced loaves by illegally reducing the weight thereof. This
scenario hardly augurs well in BAZ’s quest for a price adjustment.
As the Consumer Council, we take this opportunity to caution all
bakers and retailers against marketing and selling underweight bread,
as they are liable to prosecution. It was also noted that the quality
and the standard of the standard loaf has gone down although the
Standards Association of Zimbabwe would gladly certify bakers who
meet the SAZ standards of bread. Bakers who were found in possession
of underweight bread during this exercise will face prosecution
through the Trade Measures Department.
CCZ has been advised
that the Trade Measures Department recently acquired a very sophisticated
"Quality Control System" which accurately determines the
"net content" of any pre-packaged product and automatically
verifies whether the declared or proscribed quantity is correct,
within specified tolerances.
CCZ and the Trade
Measures Department will in the coming weeks continue with this
exercise to check on compliance and will not support further increases
to the price of bread until bakers meet the required standards.
to urge consumers to report any abuse of their rights and to be
proactive always and not to compromise a fairdeal on the marketplace.
It is the right of consumers to be heard and to get redress.
like CCZ have an obligation to ensure that consumers are protected
and get redress. A toll free consumer hotline, has been installed
for the benefit of consumers who wish to contact CCZ and it is free
of charge. A website is also in place to bridge the gap between
information and consumers. All this has been done to equip and empower
consumers in seeking a fairdeal on the marketplace. Suggestions
and opinions on the content of the website are still welcome so
as to make the site ideal for consumers in the country.
Visit the Consumer
Council of Zimbabwe fact
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