By Francis Akinnodi
Bakers in Ondo State have said that there is no going back in the increase in prices of their products as they urged Federal Government to intervene reduction of prices of baking materials in the country.
Chairman, Ondo State Master Bakers Association, Alhaji Musibau Iyiola in an interview with The Hope lamented the high cost of baking ingredients in Nigeria coupled with effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the people.
He said that the industry has employed thousands of people in Ondo State and millions of Nigerians directly or indirectly, making it an important employer of labour in the country.
According to him, “Before COVID-19, we used to buy a bag of flour for N8500 but as at today, we buy it for N14,000, 50kg of sugar was sold for N12,500 before and now N22,000 while 15kg of butter now sold for N11500 from N6500. And the increase also affected other materials used in baking bread.
“I can assure the good people of Ondo state that the quality and the weight of the bread would remain and highly nutritious for people consumption”.
However, Iyiola said, “for bakers to remain in business there is need to increase the prices of bread a little bit.
He urged the Federal government to intervene in the area of exchange rate, saying flour millers are complaining of high cause of exchange rate at the black market.
“Before COVID-19, the exchange rate at the black market was N306 compare to N485 now and millers source cost dollars from the black market. That was there argument, so government should do something urgently either selling to them through the CBN directly.
“Also, increase in other communities today like petrol affects the production of bread,” he said.
A baker, Alhaji Tajudeen Adekola noted that bread has become a important staple food in most homes, regardless of social standing and hindrance to its production could affect the country’s economy adversely.
“We are appealing to the federal government to intervene in this matter by talking to flour millers and baking material sellers to reduce the prices”.
Another baker, Joe Terry said, “In view of the incessant increase in prices of baking materials with its effects on our cost of production, we wish to announce a new price adjustment of our various loaves as follows; normal loaf which was sold for N250 before now goes for N300 and big loaf sold for N350 before, now N400. The new prices take effect from September 15,2020.
He said, “Most of us got loans with interest from banks and other financial institutions to fund our bakery and are finding it extremely difficult to meet our loan repayment obligations.