Saturday, May 28, 2022

Bakers give an ultimatum: D10 per loaf or closure

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By Nelson Manneh

All these days bakers who spoke to Foroyaa have insisted that they will only sell a loaf of ‘tapalapa’ bread at D10 and that if the government insists that they sell it at D7 they will close their bakeries and invest in another business. 

What started as a shortage of bread has now resulted to an increase in price of a staple food, from D7 to D10.

Bread scarcity has become a national issue as the whole country is experiencing a shortage of bread. Bakers initially claimed that there is an increase in the price of flour and this makes them run at a loss daily, demanding an increase in the price of bread. They claim that they are always operating at a loss.

This reporter during the weekend visited some bakeries and shops and realised that some bakeries were operating but at a lower level and they were selling ‘tapalapa at D10.

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The bakers said that the price of bread should be increased to D10 as they have already started selling it at D10.

“We want the authorities to cooperate with us because it is not our fault. The prices of all basic commodities have increased and the expenditure on bread production has increased,” bakers lamented.

Bread is a staple food for many Gambians who rely on it for breakfast, but due to the spike in the price of bread and scarcity some families are now turning to porridge, which also has its issues.

“I have an extended family and I cannot afford to buy bread for each of them at D10, that is why I told my wives to start cooking porridge for breakfast,” Omar Jatta a native of Tallinding told this reporter.

Mr Jatta’s family has now started cooking porridge as breakfast.  This reporter met the family sitting together surrounding a bowl and eating porridge.

“I used to buy bread for my kids because it is easy to carry to School but with this scarcity of bread, we have no choice other than to go back to our traditions.”

Getting bread for breakfast is now a problem in some schools. In fact, vendors who sell bread and source in some schools no longer come to sell.

Bread consumers argue that the price of bread should go hand in hand with the size of a loaf. “The bakers are complaining that they are running at a loss and they want the price to be increased, they should also consider increasing the size of the bread,” a consumer lamented.

Mariama Camara said the shopkeeper in their area is selling ‘tapalapa’ at D10 but the size still remains the same. “My concern is not about the price, but the size, because they cannot increase the price and the size still remains the same.”

Madam Camara said the price should match the size. She urged the authorities to take a position on the issue because some shopkeepers are selling Tapalapa at D10 whilst others are selling it at D7 and the size is still the same.

A Bakery in Churchill’s town around Zenith Bank was visited but it was observed that the rate of production had decreased. The same was true of another bakery that was visited.

Yerro Sowe a ‘tapalapa’ baker in Tallinding,  said the price of flour and wheat has increased and that is why they want the price of bread to be increased to at least D10.

“The increase in the prices of flour and wheat has affected our business, we always run at and loss; that is why we want the authorities to consider increasing the price to D10 which I think will be reasonable to both the producers and the consumers,” he said.

In Basse one Lamin Jawara told foroyaa that in some areas bread is sold at D10 whilst others are selling it at D15.

“If we are to talk about exploitation, it is worse here. There is no price control, all vendors sell their commodities at prices which favour them,” he said.

 Mr Jawara said since last year many shopkeepers have been selling ‘tapalapa’ at D10 and the size is very small. “I can eat two ‘tapalapas’ as breakfast in Basse, this is because the size is very small.”

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