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Church Farms in Zimbabwe to Become “profitable” after Bishops Sign Deal to Supply Wheat

Caption: Logos of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) and Lobels Bread who have reached an agreement for the production of wheat. Credit : Courtesy Photo

Thousands of hectares of Catholic Church farms in Zimbabwe are to be put into “profitable and productive use” by growing millions of kilograms of wheat to be used for the production of bread in the Southern African nation, a statement by Catholic Bishops indicates.

The decision to have the Catholic Church and community farms for wheat production was reached after members of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC) signed a contract to supply wheat flour for bread with Lobels Bread. 

The contract between Lobels Bread and ZCBC was reached through the Stellar Mundi Industrial Hub, an economy value chain of the Catholic Bishops that was launched earlier this month to help promote self-sustainability among the people of God in the Southern African nation.

“Stellar Mundi and Lobels have signed an agreement that will have far reaching impact on the well-being of the Church and the viability of Church and Community farms. It will impact the Church’s ability to run its institutions of health and education with huge positive social impact in our communities,” ZCBC members say in their Sunday, November 28 statement. 

“The Lobels alliance means that thousands of hectares of Church and Community farms will be put to profitable and productive use to grow the contracted millions of kgs of wheat required to supply the flour that Lobels needs to bake its bread and rolls,” Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe say in the statement that is to be read out in all Catholic Parishes in the country every Sunday of Advent this year.  

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Through the agreement with the producers of Lobels and Harvest brands of bread, ZCBC members say that the “the Church will receive a fair percentage of the selling price of the bread.” 

A percentage “will be given to the Church on the sale of bread to help it to become financially self-sustaining in addition to supporting wheat production on the Catholic and Community farms,” Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe say.

In the statement signed by ZCBC President, Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndhlovu of Harare Archdiocese, the Catholic Bishops call on the people of God in the country to support the local Church by purchasing the Lobel bread. 

“A purchase of a loaf of Lobels or Harvest bread is not only a good and healthy choice for you and your family; each loaf is supporting local Church wheat farms and each loaf is bringing money to finance the local Church's mission nationwide,” Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe say.

“You build the Church one loaf at a time when you choose to buy a loaf of Lobels or Harvest bread," they reiterate, and add, "In the mean time you will not have sacrificed anything, the quality is good, and the price is the same." 

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ZCBC members further call on the faithful in the country to be ambassadors of the initiative by marketing the Lobels products. 

"It is just your choice to build or not to build the local Church with your bread brand choice!” Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe say. 

In the November 2 statement announcing the launch of the Stellar Mundi Industrial Hub, ZCBC members said the initiative will help Zimbabweans access affordable and quality inputs. 

The Catholic Bishops added that the Hub "will add value to most of the value chain agricultural output into branded consumer goods that will be marketed nationally and exported into the region."

They further said that Stellar Mundi Industrial Hub would empower the faithful in Zimbabwe to "build the Church one ordinary action at a time." 

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From the simple actions, ZCBC members said in their November 2 statement, "Ordinary Catholics doing ordinary everyday things can achieve extraordinary results, e.g., building the Church one Catholic loaf at a time! Or Building the Church one bag of maize seed at a time, or indeed, one Catholic grown chicken at a time!”

This story was first published by ACI Africa on 29 November 2021