Chipinge school finds alternative to bread crisis

By Kenneth Matimaire

Zimbabwe’s bread shortages have proved to be a thorn in the nerve centre of education facilities with Mount Selinda High School immediately responding by setting up its own bakery.

Mount Selinda developed the bakery in a bid to maintain the educational facility’s nutritional standards and curb the high cost of bread currently trading at $5,50.

A pre-testing exercise of the ovens was conducted this week where 210 loaves of bread where produced together with soft buns.

The exercise will be followed by a health and engineering inspection in the next two weeks before the bakery officially operates.

“It’s still work in progress. Once it’s fully operational we will refer you to the relevant authorities to shed light,” Mount Selinda school headmaster Phineas Mundeta said without disclosing further details.

However, the school development association appraised parents of the development in a detailed letter in possession of Radio VOP.

“The economic situation has continued to shake the very centre of our school in ways that shutter many of our efforts. Prices for stationery and key consumables (as I am sure you all agree) continue to be a thorn in the nerve centre of our now very strained budget.

“While on the issue of food, I am pleased to inform you that your SDC (school development committee) and the blessed church UCCZ (United Church of Christ of Zimbabwe) have developed a bakery at the school that saw us testing the ovens today (June 17) producing 210 loaves. This first test will be followed by a health and engineering inspection within the next 14 days,” said SDA chairperson Ashirai Mutirikwi Mawere adding that the flour is acquired locally and imported from Mozambique.

Mawere said the bakery will run as a commercial entity where surplus bread is sold to the surrounding community.

He said the move is aimed at addressing the “looming bread crisis” within and outside the school.

Zimbabwe bakeries temporarily halted production of bread last week owing to wheat shortages. Government has since unveiled US$7 million for the procurement of wheat which is expected to see bakeries resume operations.

Manicaland province education director Edward Shumba said learning institutions are allowed to run commercial entities under the competency based curriculum.

“We do allow our institutions to run businesses under the competency based curriculum but it depends on the level of commercialization. If it’s a bakery they produce for the school and then sell the surplus to the community just like what is done with other agricultural (crop and livestock) projects,” he said.

Mount Selinda, like most boarding schools is not spared by the high cost of commodities threatening the health of its pupils.

It is currently undergoing robust adjustments under its agricultural department in order to preserve the well-being of its students under the harsh economic conditions.