By Oliver Kazunga
Bread manufacturer, Baker’s Inn, says it has reduced supply of bread onto the market due to depressed demand following the 21-day national lockdown period.
Speaking by telephone from Harare yesterday, Baker’s Inn chief executive officer, Mr Ngoni Mazango, said before the Covid-19 pandemic, his organisation was operating at 50 percent capacity.
“We are actually being governed by the orders, which are coming through because most of the people have closed businesses. We are producing to order.
“Before the national lockdown we were operating at 50 percent capacity because the demand was less due to lack of disposable income by consumers,” he said.
A few years ago, Baker’s Inn, a subsidiary of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed quick service restaurant business, Simbisa Brands, commissioned a US$5 million third production line at its Belmont plant in Bulawayo.
The coming on board of the new production line saw the Bulawayo factory increasing its output to 220 000 loaves a day up from 120 000.
This saw the bread manufacturer improving production capacity at the Bulawayo factory to match demand in the southern parts of the country.
Prior to meeting demand in the southern region, the Bulawayo factory was receiving an additional 40 000 loaves daily from Harare resulting in Bakers Inn supplying a total of 160 000 loaves to this regional market.
The firm’s southern region market encompasses Bulawayo, Midlands, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Masvingo provinces.
Responding to social media reports that his organisation had as a result of the national lockdown terminated employment contracts for non-permanent staff and interns, Mr Mazango said this was untrue.
“That’s not true, that’s totally wrong but we are working from home. I have got staff that is working from home, l can’t give you the exact number because we are still to find out the demand at the moment.
“We have got most of our people working from home because of the current situation,” he said.
Last week, President Mnangagwa proclaimed a national lockdown in line with the guidelines from the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health and Child Care in the fight against Covid-19, a global pandemic that has killed thousands of people across the globe. The Chronicle