The Automated Bread Factory
Coulson, A. C.Publisher: University of Dar es Salaam, Canada
Date Written: 30/05/2007
Year Published: 1977
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX380
This paper studies the consequences in Tanzania of using aid from the Canadian International Development Agency to build an automated bakery in Dar es Salaam.
Abstract: This paper studies the consequences in Tanzania of using aid from the Canadian International Development Agency to build an automated bakery in Dar es Salaam. A condition of Canadian aid is the appointment of a Canadian consultant which in this case was Angus Butler Engineering Company of Alberta. This company tendered with Baker and Perkins Ltd., the only possible manufacturer/supplier under the Canadian Aid conditions. Two years after the initial proposal, the cost had multiplied by more than three times. The fees and travelling cost for Butler alone added up to 7.5% of the project cost. The bakery is widely criticized in Tanzania as an example of inappropriate technology. The same machinery is available in Germany and Japan for half the price. Building costs were extraordinary because the design was for conditions in Alberta. Canada will benefit because Tanzania imports half of its wheat. The fact that 80% of the cost of a loaf of bread is for wheat has considerable implications on Tanzanian foreign exchange. The study shows that ten smaller bakeries with simpler machinery would produce as much as the large Canadian bakery. These would have required less capital investment. Accordingly, 320 people would have been employed in 10 places rather than 60 in one place and the smaller plants would not have been as vulnerable to breakdowns and dependency on Canada for spare parts. The investment in the automated bread factory is judged as non-essential and the dependency on Canada is seen as continuing the colonial process by further integrating Tanzania into the world capitalist system. Since the small-scale bakery equipment could have been manufactured in Tanzania, the project is presented as an example of what takes a country further away from self-reliance.