By Nelson Manneh
Bread scarcity has now become an issue to the whole country as people in many places are experiencing shortage of bread and threats of increased price.
Bakers alleged that there is an increase in the price of wheat and this makes them run at a loss daily, demanding an increase in the price of bread.
This reporter on Wednesday, 12 January, 2022 visited some of the bakeries, shops, and schools and realised that most of the bakeries were not operating. The bakers said that they want the price of bread to be increased to at least D10, otherwise they will not bake bread as they always run at a loss.
In some Lower Basic Schools within Kanifing Municipality, students could be seen moving from one stall to another within the schools looking for bread.
In the Gambia, many schools have small stalls within the school where children go during break to buy their breakfast. Most of these stalls did not operate due to lack of bread.
Bread scarcity has been a common reality within Kanifing Municipality and Banjul but it has become a national crisis now. Bakers say they will not go back to their bakeries if the price of bread is not looked at.
“The prices of all other basic commodities have increased except bread; we cannot continue to operate at a loss,” they decried.
Speaking to some consumers whom this reporter met struggling at the entrance of one of the Bakeries in Latrikunda Sabaji, said there is a scarcity of both ‘Tapa lapa’ and ‘Sainfurr’ in their area.
A Bakery in Churchill’s town around Zenith Bank was visited but it was met not operating. Another bakery that was also visited at Westfield, was found unopened.
Alpha Jallow, a ‘Tapalapa’ baker, said the price of wheat has increased and this is why there is a scarcity of bread, adding the bakers want the price of bread to be increased because for the past weeks, they have been running at a loss.
“Since last week when the price of wheat increases, we don’t make any gain from the business. We want the Authorities to increase the price of bread at least to D10,” he said.
Mr. Jallow said since last year the price of bread especially ‘Tapalapa’ has been fluctuating, suggesting that government should try to make sure that the prices of basic commodities are stable, reasonable and affordable for the consumers.
Aunty Yassin Sanneh, a vendor who sells bread and Stew at the Serrekunda market, said she prepared her stew and later realised that there is a shortage of bread.
“I sell bread and Stew for D25, and I was told that the bakers want to increase the price of bread from D7 to D10 because the price of wheat has increased,” she said.
Aunty Yassin said she feed her family from what she gets from her business. She said it is very frustrating for a vendor to prepare stew and later realised that there is a shortage of bread.
Lamarana Jallow, a shopkeeper in Farafenni, told this reporter that there is no price control on basic commodities in this country, adding that is why people just get up one day and decide to increase the prices of their commodities.
“What the bakers are claiming for is too much, if bread is increased to D10 it will be very expensive when compared to our Gambian salaries,” he said.
He said the government should take responsibility of such and should not allow people to act anyhow.
“Since last week I have been observing that the size of loaves of bread especially ‘Tapalapa’ has reduced. I visited some bakeries this morning and realize that some of them did not bake bread at all,” he said.
In Basse too, bakers said they have decided that the price of bread will be at D10 or they will not bake bread.
“In fact in some communities within Basse bread is sold at D10. The government should come out and deal with this issue once and for all,” Mariama Bah, a native of Bassa Santa-Su, told Foroyaa.
She said bread is a basic commodity that should be made available daily at an affordable price.
The president of the ‘Tapalapa’ bakers association was consulted but could not be reached.
Foroyaa will be attending the stakeholders’ meeting tomorrow at the Ministry of Trade and give you updates as to how the meeting ends. Flour importing companies in the country will also be consulted with regard to whether the price is increased if any and how much.