Mashonaland East Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Cde David Musabayana says there is need for continuous engagement between the government and the bakery industry to ensure that it remains viable.

The bakery industry is facing a number of viability challenges which have seen some bakeries closing while other players have in the past contemplated increasing the price of bread.

Minister Musabayana toured Marondera based Proton Bakers, where he said there are a number of cost drivers in the industry which need to be looked at for the industry to remain viable.

“There is need for continuous engagement between the government and the industry as the industry is facing a number of viability challenges which are affecting production,” he said.

Proton Bakers Technical Director, Mr Spiros Tselentis said if the challenges facing the industry are not urgently looked into, production is likely to go down.

“One of our biggest challenges is availability of foreign currency which we need for our operational costs. Also the costs of fuel need to be looked at,” he said.

The Marondera based bakery is one of the biggest employers in the town and a big player in the bakery industry at national level.

It is currently operating at 75 percent capacity, producing 85 000 loaves per day against its capacity of 110 000 loaves.

The bakery industry last year increased the price of bread by 10 percent in a development that saw a standard loaf of bread being sold at $1,10.

However, the price increase was reversed after negotiations with the government.