CAMEROON – The Cameroon Union of Bakers is at odds with the government over the union’s decision to reduce the price of a baguette, a common delicacy in the country by CFA10 which the government deemed small and inadequate.
In a recent letter sent to the Ministry on October 26, the union informed the government of its readiness to lower bread prices by CFA10.
This decision was in response to the Ministry’s request on October 19 for bakers to significantly and immediately reduce bread and bakery product prices.
Cameroonian Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana had emphasized that bakers should act as the price of wheat flour sold by millers had significantly decreased.
According to him, following consultations with the milling industry, the sector had reduced the factory price of flour by CFA 4,000 (US$6. 48) from CFA 4,500 (US$7.29) due to falling wheat prices in the international market.
Consequently, he urged bakers to similarly reduce bread and bakery product prices for the benefit of consumers.
On November 1, the, Minister invited the Union of Bakers for a meeting at the Ministry’s conference hall to discuss the union’s decision to reduce the price of a baguette from CFA150 (US$0.24) to CFA140 (US$0.23).
The Ministry criticized the CFA10 reduction decided by the bakers, deeming it too small and inadequate in relation to the correlated decrease in the flour price, which is a primary ingredient in bread production.
In response, the union cited factors such as salaries, taxes, additives, yeast, and fuel costs in the bread-making process to explain its CFA10 reduction decision.
However, this explanation did not convince the Ministry, which revealed that most bakers even fail to meet weight standards in their bread production.
Minister Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana said that this discrepancy constitutes a serious violation that the authorities must address. In Cameroon, a baguette must weigh 200 g, but most bakers produce loaves weighing less.
Let’s recall that the government had authorized the increase in the price of a 200g baguette in March 2022, a rise from the longstanding price of CFA125 set in 2008.
This comes after the recent move by the Cameroon food quality watchdog that cautioned bakers defying the ban on the use of potassium bromate in the production of bread and bakery products due to its alleged possibly carcinogenic to humans.