Prices of bread in Enugu State may rise by 200 per cent before the end of the year, a survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has shown.
Prices have doubled since August through to October, 2021, forcing the product out of reach of many families and lovers of bread.
A survey conducted by NAN on Wednesday, in Enugu, showed that the price may likely even jump further in November and December, if not controlled.
The development has been blamed on incessant increases in the prices of baking materials, factory rent and wages, which has made it difficult for the bakers to make profit or break even.
The persistent increases in the cost of baking materials, in particular, has forced many bakers out of the business, and left others seeking government’s intervention to survive, the survey revealed.
In May, the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN) directed its members nationwide to increase prices of bread and other items by 30 per cent due to the prevailing economic situation of the country.
Some of the producers who spoke with NAN said they jerked up the price due to the high cost of production, as well as prices of such materials as sugar, butter, yeast and flour.
This, they said, has reduced the quantity and quality of bread produced in Enugu, eliminating bread as a major food for the ‘common man’.
A baker, Peter Ohajiuba, said he was tired of the bread business due to the uncontrollable costs associated with it, adding, “It is surprising and unbelievable how the cost of baking materials keeps increasing on a daily basis.”
“We no longer produce the quantity we used to produce and people are complaining about the prices at which we sell it,” he said.
He said flour, sold at N10, 000 in August, had risen to N22,000, a bag of sugar sold for N14,500 was now N21,000, butter sold for N11,000 was now selling at N21,000, nylon, which sold for N8, was now selling at N13. 50 kobo and gas, which sold for N3,500 was now N7,500.
Mr Ohajiuba said he pays a monthly rent of N20,000 and wages ranging from N20,000 to N35, 000.
“With all these running costs, how can one make gains which is the major aim of venturing into any business?” he asked.
According to him, many bread factories in the state had shut their operations due to high expenses
He added that if nothing was done before the end of October the unit price of bread would double.
Another baker, Uchenna Okafor, said that as a matter of urgency, the government should look into the increase in the cost of flour and other materials, as well as provide loans to bakers to produce more bread and employ more workers.
“There is no market as people complain of no money, coupled with our having to pay workers. They will become a nuisance to society if we are forced to sack them and close down our businesses.
“A price control mechanism should be put in place to monitor the cost of things in the market, to enable us meet our target and demands,” he said.
A retailer, Chika Aliejim, said the price of the bread she bought for N550 a few months ago had gone up to N800, and that that of N350 now sold at N600, while the one that was N200 was now selling at N500.
“The funny thing is that the quantity of bread these days is laughable as an individual can finish N300 loaf of bread and will still be hungry.
“I usually make a gain of N80 on one bread, but now I make only N20 and we were told that raw materials for making the bread had gone up,” she said.