NIGERIA – The Rivers State chapter of the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers in Nigeria has urged consumers in the state to prepare for a new price regime effective July 31, as bakers grapple with the cost of production.
According to the Punch, Dr. Chidi Orlu, the state chairman of the association revealed this while speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt on Sunday, June 29.
Orlu explained that the country’s current economic realities were impacting bakers’ production costs negatively, but noted that the increment will be minimal.
“From Monday the prices of bread in Rivers State will increase slightly. We plead with consumers and the general public to understand us”, he stated.
The update comes barely a week after President Bola Tinubu ordered immediate action to curb rising food prices and ensure sustainable food security, a measure he described as a ‘food emergency.’
In addition, bakers under Premium Bread Makers Association and flour millers had earlier warned that bread prices would be increased by 15 percent nationwide effective July 24 to cope with the skyrocketing cost of production.
Emmanuel Onuorah, the president of the Premium Bread Makers Association (PBAN) expressed concern stating that increased input costs in recent months had further exacerbated the plight of bakers who were already being burdened by a vast array of macroeconomic challenges.
On his part, Orlu with similar sentiments said that all the raw materials without exception used in producing bread have gone up, adding that if raft measures are not taken, including hiking bread prices, more bakeries will be out of business.
Dr. Orlu disclosed that some bakers have since stopped production owing to their inability to cope with the high cost of the materials.
He, therefore, advised the federal government to initiate policies aimed at encouraging agriculture and the local production of wheat.
“Federal government should put policies in place that will encourage agriculture”. “Until we can do something reasonable about producing wheat locally, this problem will continue to persist,” he lamented.
A UN report in January projected that 25 million Nigerians were at high risk of food insecurity this year.
Further, more than 350 farmers were kidnapped or killed in the 12 months up to June 2022 alone, many of which have taken place in the north of the country according to a Nigerian security tracking website.
With IMF projecting the process of cereals to increase by up to 15% after the end of the Black Sea deal, Nigeria’s baking sector remains in jeopardy.