Vice President Kembo Mohadi yesterday rallied the nation to make use of available indigenous resources and knowledge to enhance community resilience and tackle challenges of price increases for basic goods.
He said this during the national launch of the Community Resilience Bakeries Programme at Waterfalls Incubation Centre in Harare yesterday.
The National Bakeries Programme is an initiative introduced by the Government early this year, aimed at improving the supply of bread at affordable prices to communities.
It was also targeted at availing opportunities for economic empowerment of rural women and youths who will own and operate the bakeries while creating employment for others.
VP Mohadi said Government, including other stakeholders, will continue to support the bakeries programme throughout the country so that more and more people can afford to buy cheaper bread.
"Not only are these bakeries closer to our people, they are run by community members who will also generate income from the projects," said VP Mohadi.
"Our efforts and indeed our current thrust are to assist the new and existing bakeries to increase their production capacities in a bid to make bread affordable and accessible to all our citizens.
"The community bakeries are one of our quick-win solutions to the challenges we are currently facing as a nation and I am delighted that once they are fully functional, they will improve our people's livelihoods and enhance community resilience in all the 10 provinces."
VP Mohadi said community bakeries promoted rural industrialisation in addition to improving food and nutrition security.
He added that the country could only achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Vision 2030 when food was available at affordable prices.
"The benefits of this programme at local level are immense as our communities will play an important role in rural industrialisation, employment creation, local value chains development and improving our food and nutrition security. This is in line with our economic blueprints -- the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and Vision 2030.
"The impact of these blueprints is economic stabilisation and growth with the participation of all our citizens regardless of location. As we strive to transform our nation into a prosperous upper middle-income economy by the year 2030, a key success driver is a healthy and productive citizenry. We can only have a productive workforce if food is made available on the table at an affordable price and in adequate quantities," said VP Mohadi.
He advised Government ministries and stakeholders to utilise the available home-grown resources and knowledge for sustainable development.
VP Mohadi added that Government was alarmed by the continued, uncalled for and indiscriminate price increases that are causing untold suffering to the people.
"As Government we call for ethical conduct of business and urge established bakeries to forge win-win linkages with the community-based bakeries we are launching today. Our rich indigenous knowledge systems and locally available technology are making a huge positive impact on people's lives; hence we should maximise their usage.
"It has also come to my knowledge that we can use alternative sources of energy to fuel bakeries such as biogas, LP gas and solar, among others," he said.
He said this had created shortages of bread and bakery products in areas out of reach of big bakeries.
"It is therefore imperative that we engage marginalised communities in coming up with solutions such as these localised bakeries," he said.
Acting Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said: "Government on its part has adopted the devolution policy which supports the participation of communities in decision-making and implementing locally identified programmes.
"In this regard, communities are encouraged to invest with resources devolved to them in the setting up of low-cost bakeries.
"Communities in marginalised areas such as Dande, Kanyemba, Kazozo, Tsholotsho, Bulilima and Binga, among others should be prioritised in this programme in line with Government's policy of leaving no one behind."
Minister Mutsvangwa said bread was not a luxury but a nutritional necessity and should never be in short supply.