ZIMBABWE – The DCK Group in Zimbabwe has commissioned a new bakery and maize milling plant after investing about US$320 000 in setting up the facilities.

The investment, in Gweru, brings the number of bakeries within the region to three and marks a milestone in breaking the monopoly in bread production which is commercially controlled by a handful of investors in the region.

Speaking during the commissioning of the facilities,  Mangaliso Ndlovu, industry and Commerce Minister, said that the investment also foots the government’s new paradigm shift to decentralizing production and at the same time ensuring affordability of basic goods to locals.

“Our task as the government is to promote and facilitate the setting up of industries within the communities in order to cut down on delivery costs and create employment for the local people and DCK has taken the lead in this direction.

“This new investment will bring the number of bakeries in Gweru to three with a daily combined production capacity of more than 27 000 loaves,” Ndlovu said.

He also noted that the investment also buttresses the government’s drive to resuscitate indigenous bakeries and promote the use of locally produced wheat and ingredients.

The bakery will use 100 per cent locally sourced ingredients and becomes the entity’s third bakery in the city.

The company produces its own wheat on a 400-hectare farm which they then mill into flower before processing it into bread which they, in turn, distribute through their supermarkets.

Minister Ndlovu said such initiatives if supported and expanded will reduce the huge bill on imported wheat which is currently costing the country more than US$20 million monthly.

“We all know that currently, the milling and baking industries are dominated by big companies. The entry of other players like DCK will therefore serve to break existing monopoly with resultant benefits to the consumer,” he highlighted.

DCK managing director, Mr Douglas Kwande, said that the company also has plans to open a new bakery in Kwekwe in the coming month.

Meanwhile grain millers in the country have maintained a 10 percent mark-up retail price on mealie-meal and other basics and rejected the selling of the products in foreign currency.

Speaking at a joint meeting with retailers and wholesalers, Mr Tafadzwa Musarara, Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) president, stressed that this will also protect consumers wanton price increases.