BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
There was a massive turnout at the Zanu PF community bakery training programme that was held at the party’s provincial offices in Marondera on Friday.
Scores of party supporters, mainly women from all the 23 constituencies in the province, took part in the programme which the party said was targeting to ease bread shortages in the country by establishing community bakeries as the Zanu PF-led government employs all tactics to address the economic meltdown.
Despite social media rants on the uselessness of the programme, scores of Zanu PF party supporters, who included women’s league members, the youth league and some war veterans from the rural constituencies spent the better part of the day being trained on baking bread, among other skills like candle and shoe-polish production.
The event was also graced by Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Aplonia Munzverengi, who is also the women’s league national political commissar.
Provincial women’s league secretary for administration Spiwe Mukunyaidze said the turnout was encouraging and participants had a task to impart the acquired skills back in their wards.
“We were happy with the turnout and this shows that the people out there are embracing the programme,” Mukunyadze said.
“We are now encouraging those who participated in the training programme to impart the acquired knowledge and skills to others in their respective wards and constituencies. The implementation of this programme means that the shortage of bread will be a thing of the past. We have made arrangements to ensure that the people secure the needed raw materials such as wheat at affordable prices.”
The country has been facing bread shortages attributed to the shortage of foreign currency to buy wheat and other ingredients.
Wheat shortages have paralysed several bakeries, resulting in massive shortages while the current inflation rate has seen bakeries offloading bread on the black market to source foreign currency to import raw materials, pushing the price of the commodity to around $7.
After the training programme at the Zanu PF offices, bread was sold at $3.
The makeshift bakeries have been criticised by some sections of society mainly on social media platforms with people saying government is lacking innovation in dealing with the prevailing economic crisis. Some described the mud ovens as Stone Age structures.
But despite the criticism, the community bakery programme has since been rolled out to other provinces with various teams being dispatched across the country to train more community-based bread makers.