Hunger looms as bread producers threaten strike

Respite may be far from hapless Nigerians who are daily groaning under the yoke of spiraling price increases as the threatened strike by the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMCN) may heighten their suffering and hunger.

The Bread producers premised their action on the neglect by the government and that the cost of flour, sugar and other materials used in the bakery business had skyrocketed beyond the reach of an average baker.

The decision to embark on strike was communicated at the end of their executive meeting in Abuja through a communiqué signed by the association’s executives, led by its National President, Mansur Umar. It was stated in the communique that the council reviewed the “neglect of the Federal Government in addressing the challenges facing our sector as captured in our letters acknowledged by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Federal Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria and unproductive intervention of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation” leaves them with no other option than to go on strike.

Giving specific hardship facing the sector, the bakers stated in the communique that “Increase in prices of bakery materials especially flour and sugar having reached unprecedented levels, for example, flour is now between N25, 000 and N27, 500, so also other ingredients.

“The National Wheat Cultivation Committee already constituted is yet to be inaugurated after over one year. NAFDAC, SON, and NESREA have turned the bakers into a money-making machine by charging our member’s outrageous levies even at this very challenging moment.

“Consequently, the NEC in session resolved that all zones, state, Local Governments, and units of our association should commence full mobilisation of our members nationwide to embark on Bread producers and caterers on Friday threatened to withdraw their services nationwide due to the unprecedented increase in bakery materials and the neglect of the Federal Government to this matter.

A year-on-year analysis of the average prices from January 2017 to January 2022 based on data from the NBS shows that bread (unsliced, 500g) and rice (agric-sold loose rice) recorded 42 percent and 48 percent price hikes respectively. As of January 2017, the average price of a loaf of bread (unsliced, 500g) was N270. It however increased to N384 by January 2022.

The price of bread has been steadily on the increase thereby pushing the staple beyond the reach of an average Nigerian. The bread that used to sell for N250.00 is now selling for N600.00, depending on the locality.


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